7 Top Collectors on the Work That Got Away

These are the misses that particularly hurt.

Kingston stands with William Kentridge's, Untitled (Frantz Fanon) (2016). Courtesy of Pulane Kingston.

We’ve all felt that pang of regret on returning to a shop, only to find that the item you just couldn’t stop thinking about has been sold to someone else. Now, what about when that item is a work of art that could go on to be worth millions? We asked a series of collectors about the artworks that got away—from vintage Yayoi Kusama to early Anish Kapoor.


Beatrice Bulgari: 80’s Kapoor

Beatrice Bulgari. In the background, work by Anselm Kiefer. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

Beatrice Bulgari. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

“Anish Kapoor in the ’80s and even later! I had the chance to see for the first time some works by Kapoor in Sicily during the ’80s along with the art critic Demetrio Paparoni, but I missed that opportunity.”


Naomi Milgrom: Bourgeois Blues & Riley Regrets

Portrait of Naomi Milgrom with Anselm Kiefer’s Merkaba (1997/2011) in the background.

Naomi Milgrom.Photo by Duncan Killick.

“Louise Bourgeois. I had my heart set on a work called Untitled (Love) executed in 2000 but it was not to be. Someone pipped me to the post! Another work, a black-and-white oil by Bridget Riley, was a big miss for me. I simply couldn’t afford it.”


Oleg Guerrand: Don’t Remind Him

Oleg Guerrand.

Oleg Guerrand. Image courtesy of the collector.

“I’d rather not remember.”


Jens Faurschou: Pristine Works on Paper

Jens and Masha Faurschou in Lolland, near their summer house in the south of Denmark. Photo: Sara Stenfeldt. Courtesy of Jens Faurschou.

Jens and Masha Faurschou. Photo by Sara Stenfeldt, courtesy of Jens Faurschou.

“That would be 152 gorgeous drawings of Yayoi Kusama from the late ’50s to the early ’60s, plus a few sculptures and paintings. In 1995, we had the chance to buy the works directly from the original owner. The works on paper were pristine, as if they were made a day before. They have been kept all these years in a drawer. The asking price was $250,000 and the economic environment was harsh. But I should have bought them then.”


Larry Warsh: Warhol Woes

Larry Warsh at the 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction in Water Mill, New State. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.)

Larry Warsh. Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

“Andy Warhol. An old friend of mine used to trade antiques and jewelry with Andy in the ’80s. He would show up with a roll of Andy’s ‘Marilyn,’ ‘Elvis,’ and ‘Coca-Cola’ drawings. I was younger then, about 20 years old, and I didn’t quite understand the importance of the work. If I could go back in time!”


Pulane Kingston: You Snooze You Lose

Pulane Kingston with Jadé Fadojutimi, My Bloated Burial (2018). Courtesy of Pulane Kingston.

Pulane Kingston with Jadé Fadojutimi, My Bloated Burial (2018). Courtesy of Pulane Kingston.

“When I traveled to Art Basel for the very first time, in 2016, I was completely green and overwhelmed by the number of people at the fair. I saw the most exceptional painting by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Jack Shainman Gallery, but I didn’t know to buy it immediately. When I went back the next day, it was gone.”


Juan Yarur Torres: Location, Location, Location

Juan Yarur Torres.

Juan Yarur Torres. Image courtesy of the collector.

“The silly answer is an apartment in New York, because my father offered once, and I said “no, I’m fine,” and then I could never afford it again.”

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