Who Are the Most Influential Women in the European Art World?

artnet News continues its celebration of the art world's most influential women, this time with a focus on Europe.

Beatrix Ruf © Robin de Puy

Beatrix Ruf
© Robin de Puy

Beatrix Ruf
After 13 years spent at the helm of the Kunsthalle Zurich, Ruf will take over Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum this fall. An advisor of über collector Michael Ringier, Ruf is known as a top spotter of young talent. The list of exhibitions she oversaw in Zurich speaks for itself, featuring the likes of Wihelm Sasnal, Carol Bove, and Keren Cytter. She was also responsible for the Kunsthalle's move to Zurich's Löwenbräu art district in 2012.

Courtesy Esther Schipper Gallery

Esther Schipper
Courtesy Galerie Esther Schipper

Esther Schipper
Since opening her first space in 1989, Schipper has been instrumental in developing the careers of art world household names such as Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Thomas Demand, Philippe Parreno, and Pierre Huyghe. She was a founder of Berlin's Gallery Weekend and a bastion of its art-production-based agenda. Noted for her strong institutional engagement, Schipper was central in the organization of Parreno's and Huyghe's shows at the Palais de Tokyo and Centre Pompidou last fall, the latter of which is currently on view at Cologne's Museum Ludwig and will travel to LACMA later this year.

Patrizia Sandretto Courtesy Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin

Patrizia Sandretto
Courtesy Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
It was a trip to London in the mid 1990s, under the guidance of Lisson's Nicholas Logsdail, that put Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo on the path to becoming one of Europe's most influential art collectors. The Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo she founded in 2002 has become a contemporary art landmark in Italy. Sandretto is also helping shape a new generation of curators with her curatorial training programme, housed in the 18th-century country home of her husband's family, the Palazzo Re Rebaudengo. A selection of works from the collection are currently on view at Berlin's me Collectors Room.

Philomene Magers und Monika Sprüth Courtesy Marco Funke

Philomene Magers und Monika Sprüth
Photo: Marco Funke

Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers
Previously, formidable Cologne gallerists in their own right, Sprüth and Magers joined forces in 1998 and have since moved operations to Berlin and London. Bringing Sprüth's focus on female artists such as Rosemarie Trockel, Jenny Holzer, and Cindy Sherman together with Magers's penchant for postwar and contemporary stars like John Baldessari, Donald Judd, and Ed Ruscha has led to one of Europe's most prominent and eagle-eyed dealerships.

Sadie Coles © Bryan Adams

Sadie Coles
© Bryan Adams 

Sadie Coles
Coles came of age with the Young British Artists generation. She opened her first gallery in 1997 with Sarah Lucas on her roster, and has since championed the artist who represents Britain at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Coles' interests are far from a British only affair though. Urs Fischer, Sam Durant, and Raymond Pettibon are only a few of the heavy-hitters she works with.

Susanne Gaensheimer  by Maruricio Guillén, Courtesy MMK

Susanne Gaensheimer
Photo: Maruricio Guillén, Courtesy MMK

Susanne Gaensheimer
Director of Frankfurt's Museum of Modern Art since 2009, Gaensheimer grabbed international acclaim for her curation of the German pavillion at the 2011 Venice Biennale, which won the golden Lion for its posthumous presentation of Christoph Schlingensief. In 2013 she followed up the effort with a second German pavillion presenting a show of Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh.

From left: Vlatka Horvat, Maja Hoffmann Artists Space's Annual Spring Gala The Prince George Ballroom, New York • April 30, 2007 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Maja Hoffmann (right)
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Maja Hoffmann
Pharmaceutical heiress Hoffmann is often described as a collector, but she prefers to consider herself an “enabler." And she is about to “enable" things on an unprecedented scale via her LUMA foundation. Hoffmann is spearheading the creation of the Parc des Ateliers, a large creative complex in Arles, South of France. With an estimated cost of  €150 million, it is said to be the biggest of its kind in Europe. Hoffmann is also president of Kunsthalle Zurich, vice president of Basel's Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, and a board member of New Museum and Tate London.

Francesca von Habsburg Photo:  Irina Gavrich

Francesca von Habsburg
Photo: Irina Gavrich

Francesca von Habsburg
Catalyst to numerous critically acclaimed projects such as Matthias Poledna's Austrian pavillion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, much of Ragnar Kjartansson's recent oeuvre, Cardiff and Miller's The Murder of Crows, and much more, collector Francesca von Habsburg continues the family tradition of art's patronage (her father Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza founded the eponymous museum in Madrid) with utmost focus on the contemporary. Based in Vienna, her private museum and foundation, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) in the city's Augarten, has become a hot spot in the decade or so since it was founded.

Anita Zabludowicz ANITA and POJU  ZABLUDOWICZ host the Exhibition Preview of the Zabludowicz Collection: Six Weeks in New York 1500 Broadway, NYC • February 28, 2011 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Anita Zabludowicz
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Anita Zabludowicz
Zabludowicz is a collector and patron with a keen eye for emerging talent. The Zabludowicz Collection's London venue hosted in former Methodist chapel is a must for all those who want to keep their finger on the pulse. The collection also has outposts in New York and in Sarvisalo, Finland, where artists, Michael Dean, Andy Holden, and Laura Buckley recently among them, are invited for residencies.

From left: Caroline Bourgeois, Ilene Kurtz, Ingo Kurtz Private preview and cocktails for the opening of Matt Johnson at Blum & Poe Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA • September 9, 2011

Caroline Bourgeois (left)
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Caroline Bourgeois
A life force behind the prestigious Pinault Foundation, Bourgeois first worked for the French luxury guru putting together his video collection between 1997 and 2001. The former artistic director at Le Plateau joined the foundation for good in 2008, and has since then been responsible for some of the collection's major shows including at Garage in Moscow and the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

Ingvild Goetz, photo: Thomas Schmidt, Hamburg, © Goetz Collection

Ingvild Goetz, photo: Thomas Schmidt, Hamburg, © Goetz Collection

Ingvild Goetz
A former gallerist, Goetz started to collect full-time in the early 1980s. She went on to assemble one of the world's largest collections of new media art, held in one of Herzog and de Meuron's first and most iconic museum buildings, and inspired a new generation of collectors, tempted by the possibilities offered by video art. Goetz donated her collection to the state of Bavaria last year, but that hasn't kept her off the art world map. Goetz has been flitting about the European scene (and, we hear, buying) in full force this spring.

Jennifer Flay Copyright X.Cariou

Jennifer Flay
Copyright X.Cariou

Jennifer Flay
Hailing from New Zealand, Flay was an accomplished gallerist in Paris before she took over as FIAC's artistic director in 2004. The Parisian art fair has become a main event on the international art calendar under her leadership. According to some, it even surpasses Frieze London, its rival across the channel. And they're expanding. FIAC recently announced that a satellite fair, (OFFI)CIELLE, will debut next October, also be directed by Flay. In 2015, LA will get a FIAC outpost as well.

From Left: Daniel Birnbaum, Julia Peyton-Jones, Hans Ulrich Obrist ARTFORUM & PERRIER JOUET PARTY at THE WOLFSONIAN The Wolfsonian, Miami Beach, FL • December 8, 2007 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Julia Peyton-Jones (center)
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Julia Peyton Jones
Julia Peyton Jones is a force to be reckoned with. At the helm of London's Serpentine Gallery since 1991, she has transformed the park's modest exhibition space into an iconic venue. In 1998, Peyton Jones spearheaded a £4 million renovation project, which more than tripled the number of visitors. More recently, she added a second space, designed by Zaha Hadid. Peyton Jones is a staunch supporter of experimental architecture that she has promoted via the Serpentine Pavillion commissions since 2000.

Victoria Miro US Museum Premiere of TRUE NORTH by Isaac Julien w/ Interview Magazine Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL • November 29, 2005 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Victoria Miro
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Victoria Miro
A real grande dame of the London art world, Miro has been instrumental in forging the careers of the likes of Peter Doig, Chris Ofili, and Yayoi Kusama. She opened her first gallery on Cork Street in 1985 but is best known as one of the first major dealers to move to the East End in 2000. She also opened a second space in central London last May, keeping up with the capital's renewed focus on the traditional art trade centres of Mayfair and St James's.

Gallery Weekend Berlin director Maike Cruse

Gallery Weekend Berlin director Maike Cruse
Photo: Wolfgang Stahr

Maike Cruse
Formerly the head of communications for Art Basel, Cruse took over Art Berlin Contemporary two years ago, moving the fall event away from its curated past and towards an Art Unlimited–style model of single-artist presentations. This year, she's taken on Berlin's Gallery Weekend as well for its 10th anniversary edition.

Oliver Evans, Maureen Paley CLIFFORD ROSS and DAVID SALLE Joint After Gallery Dinner Matsuri, NYC • May 7, 2011 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Oliver Evans, Maureen Paley
Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Maureen Paley
An American in London, Paley was one of the first to present contemporary art in the East End of the British capital, back in the early 1980s. Since then, Paley has been a real tastemaker, nurturing the careers of the likes of Wolfgang Tillmans, Gillian Wearing, and Liam Gillick. A much respected voice, Paley is also a patron, supporting institutions including the Whitechapel Gallery and Tate.

Bice Curiger

Bice Curiger
Photo: artnet, 2011

Bice Curiger
Now director of the newly opened Van Gogh Foundation in Arles, France, Curiger is one of Parkett magazine's founders, the publishing director of Tate Etc. She served as a curator at the Kunsthaus Zurich for nearly twenty years, beginning in 1993. In 2011, Curiger curated the 2011 Venice Biennale, which she titled Illuminations.

Michael Govan, Suzanne Page Dinner for RICHARD SERRA "SCULPTURE: FORTY YEARS" Hosted by MoMA and LVMH The Museum of Modern Art, NYC • May 29, 2007 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Suzanne Pagé (right)
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Suzanne Pagé
Pagé served from 1988–2006 as director of the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. She curated the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1986, which was awarded the Golden Lion. Presently, she is set to direct the new LVMH museum, due to open in Paris later this year.

Christine Macel INTERVIEW, LVMH, FENDI Art Basel Dinner Delano, Miami Beach • December 2, 2010 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Christine Macel
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Christine Macel
Macel has been the chief curator at the Musee National d'Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou since 2000. She was also the curator of the French Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and curatorial adviser for Dublin Contemporary 2011.

Iwona Blazwick HILARY and GALEN WESTON Host The Opening of the GERT and UWE TOBIAS Exhibit at The Whitechapel Gallery at Windsor Windsor, Vero Beach, FL • December 8, 2012 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Iwona Blazwick
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Iwona Blazwick
Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery since 2003, Iwona Blazwick oversaw the ambitious redevelopment that doubled the space of the London's best-loved East End institution. Blazwick has been a power player for decades: first at the ICA, where she gave the young Damien Hirst his first solo show back in 1992, and later at Tate, where she was Head of Exhibitions and Display, closely involved with the launch of Tate Modern in 2000.

Leila Heller, Maryam Eisler Leila Heller Gallery and Town & Country Magazine Present the Young Collectors Exhibition Leila Heller Gallery, 568 W. 25th, NYC • December 18, 2012 Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Maryam Eisler (right)
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Maryam Eisler
Art collector, patron, author, and editor, Eisler has written on Iranian and Turkish Contemporary art for various international art magazines and exhibition catalogues as well as worked on several books. She is co-chair of the Tate's Middle East and North Africa Acquisitions Committee and a founding member of the British Museum's Contemporary and Modern Middle East Acquisitions Committee.

Katerina Gregos Courtesy artnet

Katerina Gregos
Photo: artnet, 1999

Katerina Gregos
Since taking the helm of Art Brussels two years ago, Gregos has installed a new, up-to-the-moment design for the fair and brought in fresh collector's, galleries, and artists alike. Where for several years dealers were seen turning away from Brussels in favor of other European spring fairs like ARCO Madrid and Art Cologne, many are now clambering back.

Karen Boros Volkswagen and MoMA PS1 Benefit for Hurricane Sandy Relief Delano Hotel, Miami, FL • December 7, 2012

Karen Boros
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Karen Boros
Having formerly worked in galleries and as a VIP director for Art Basel, Karen Boros (née Lohmann) runs Berlin's infamous, appointment only Boros Bunker together with her husband, Christian Boros. Consistently been overbooked since opening in 2008, the Bunker has become a litmus test for artistic trends on the Berlin circuit. Karen serves as something of a quiet executive, guiding acquisitions and indeed a swath of Berlin's art scene.

Andrea Rose

Andrea Rose

Andrea Rose
Rose has been the Director of Visual Arts at the British Council since 1994. As such, she has supervised a string of critically-acclaimed commissions for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale,  including by Tracey Emin, Steve McQueen, and Mike Nelson, which had crowds queuing the whole length of the Giardini. Rose is also Chair of the Selection Committee for the International Venice Biennale of Art and Architecture, as well as the UK representative of UNESCO Cultural Commission.

Sarah McCrory Courtesy artnet

Sarah McCrory
Photo: artnet, 2011

Sarah McCrory
McCrory is currently the Director of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. Previously, she worked as the curator for Frieze Projects and Films. McCrory is known for her support of and work with emerging, young, and underrepresented artists. She sits on the jury of the 2014 Turner Prize.