Bronze bust of the late Charlie Munger wowed crowd in Omaha at Berkshire meeting

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Bronze bust of the late Charlie Munger wowed crowd in Omaha at Berkshire meeting

Artist Yu Shu creates sculptures of Charlie Munger.

Courtesy: Yu Shu

OMAHA, Neb. – A 24-inch-tall bronze bust sculpture of the late Charlie Munger was the talk of guests staying at the Omaha Marriott for Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting last weekend.

The hotel, next to the Berkshire-owned jewelry store Borsheims, was the preferred place to stay for the investment icon, who died in November at the age of 99, when he visited his hometown and the Berkshire headquarters of his long-time partner and confidant Warren Buffett.

The sculpture, placed in the lobby along with glasses of champagne and brochures, soon caught the attention of numerous passing Berkshire shareholders as well as two particular admirers – Munger's own daughter, Wendy, and his longtime executive assistant, Doerthe Obert.

“I came back to the lobby and the hotel staff said, 'Doerthe came down twice to look for you,'” Yu Shu, the 39-year-old artist behind the sculpture, said in an interview with CNBC. “Then they called Doerthe and she came down. I hugged her and said, 'It's nice to see you again,' and she said, 'We've never met before.'”

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Artist Yu Shu poses for a photo with busts of Charlie Munger.

Courtesy: Yu Shu

This was actually not the first time Yu met Obert. The artist-turned real estate agent, herself a Berkshire shareholder, made an unexpected visit to Munger's Los Angeles home in March 2023, hoping to meet Munger and tell him about the sculpture in progress. While she was denied a meeting, she asked Obert for close-up photos of his profile to refine facial details.

It took a total of 12 months and a number of attempts for Yu to complete the final version of the Munger bust. A visitor to 10 Berkshire annual meetings, she said she was inspired by a piece of life advice from Warren Buffett to turn her love of art – and Berkshire – into a business.

Artist Yu Shu creates sculptures of Charlie Munger.

Courtesy: Yu Shu

“His words at the 2022 Annual Meeting touched me: 'If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.' I asked myself, “How could I turn my passion into a business?” Yu said.

Full-size copies of the bronze busts are available for $19,500 each, while half-size cold-cast bronze busts cost $595. The artist, who grew up in Chengdu, China and currently lives between Denver and Taiwan, said she is currently working on large Buffett sculptures.

“Charlie Munger has always been a personal hero of mine, so he was the subject of my first sculpture,” Yu said. “Making a bronze sculpture is similar to an investment in value; it requires patience and persistence.”

Last weekend, a longtime Berkshire shareholder purchased the Munger bust that once adorned the Marriott lobby. The buyer preferred to remain anonymous but said he hoped to donate the artwork to the Munger family.

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Yu Shu poses for a photo with Greg Abel during Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Courtesy: Yu Shu