Mary J. Lane had a good interview with the Ullens after the sale of their Zeng Fanzhi in Hong Kong set a new record and continued the long-desired Chinese view that their artists should command the same price levels as Western artists. Guy Ullens explained how their relationships with Chinese artists
When I started doing business in China in the early 1980s it was beginning to open up, so I started buying classical objects. From that, I met Chinese artists including Ai Weiwei and Wang Keping, who had decided they were going to live their own lives and not work for the state anymore. […] The one who became the most famous in China was Liu Xiaodong. The first major work of his I bought was a portrait of his wife Yu Hong painted in 1993. Myriam and I spent a day with them in Beijing when he painted a portrait of us in 2008 for around $100,000. I think Liu smoked about three packs of cigarettes while he was doing it. Mimi didn’t like her portrayal. She felt it looked too Chinese and not enough like herself, but I very much like mine. Both of those are in storage.
We all don’t hang out as much anymore; Ai Weiwei, Wang Keping and Liu all became very important people—more difficult to meet, more formal, and they watch what they say now. That’s normal when you start painting for $1 million or more.
Art ‘to Give Me Goosebumps’ (Wall Street Journal)