The artnet News Index: The World’s Top 100 Art Collectors for 2016, Part One
Who's shaping the art world in 2016?
To see the second 50 collectors, published June 15, 2016, see “The artnet News Index: The World’s Top 100 Art Collectors for 2016, Part Two.”
Here it is, artnet News’s roundup of the world’s top 100 collectors. Once again, we’ve pulled together an encyclopedic museum’s worth of art trade resources to arrive at what we believe to be the world’s most essential inventory of major art collectors. How is this year’s review of the world’s top collectors different from other lists? For one, our 2016 grouping is more compact, extensive, and better researched than previous rosters. Additionally, the list is also remarkably detailed and up to date, incorporating some of the latest movements major collectors have made around the globe—as told to artnet News—over the intervening 12 months.
Today’s top art collectors are an evolving lot. At once more global, wealthier, more interconnected, and politically exposed than ever, they sit atop an unequal and stagnant world economy (thanks to slow growth, falling commodity prices, currency devaluations, and general economic and political malaise) that increasingly buttons them as a privileged elite. Perhaps for this reason, today’s Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) collectors increasingly behave like startled grizzly bears. While these art world predators still throw plenty of weight around, at pivotal moments—read, this year’s spring auctions—they appear unsure of whether to gorge or hibernate for the winter.
Related: artnet News’s Top 200 Art Collectors Worldwide for 2015, Part One
Times have changed—somewhat—since the frothy highs of 2015, when Liu Yiqian, a former taxi driver turned-billionaire art collector with two private Shanghai art museums, bought Amadeo Modigliani’s Nu Couché (1917–18) at Christie’s November sale for $170 million, and a second, less-public buyer shelled out $70 million for Cy Twombly’s Untitled (New York City) (1968) at Sotheby’s. Last year, both auction houses jointly raked in $2.3 billion in just 10 days. Since then, auction results have slipped drastically—sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s dropped roughly 60 percent in 2016—framed by a newly chastened art market that has been described by experts as “softening,” “tepid,” “thinning” or, more prosaically, undergoing “a correction.”
Yet, despite these adjustments at the top of the food chain, covetous art collectors around the world continue to defy predictions of an art-market bust. In a less flashy repeat of last year, Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa dropped $98 million in just two days in May for works that included a $57.3 million Jean-Michel Basquiat and a $2.6 million self-portrait by Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie. Proving, once again, that even in an economy where Wall Street bonuses have dipped and the supply of rare luxury goods has crept up, deep-pocketed buyers like Maezawa and others on the artnet News Index can make outsize impressions on the market.
According to a recent survey conducted by Bank of America US Trust, “Insights On Wealth and Worth Survey,” “collectors still overwhelmingly buy art for aesthetic and lifestyle reasons, but they are increasingly interested in how their art behaves as a capital asset.” The same study states that a large number of collectors, including younger patrons and the so-called UHNW (the $10-million-plus club), are more “likely to enjoy the community of other collectors on the ‘global circuit.’” Translation: Despite all the talk of art fair exhaustion, it seems the vast majority of art collectors still like an arty party.
Related: artnet News’s Top 200 Art Collectors Worldwide for 2015, Part Two
There are several other patterns that may be drawn from making this list, but one impression above all appears especially relevant now. That is, namely, the sense that even if today’s art buying may have come down to earth from previously stratospheric heights, the boldface names on our essential artnet News Index remain singularly devoted to art collecting as a passion, a financial store, a philanthropic venture, and a social activity.
A few other conclusions can be drawn from the results of this year’s collector Index. Firstly, the thoroughgoing globalization of art collecting continues apace, as demonstrated by the inclusion of new collectors from Africa and South Asia. Secondly, the trend toward the building of private museums is not only growing, it has exploded geographically, traveling like a viral meme from cities like Miami, Dallas, and Vienna to Jakarta, Chonquing, and Henningsvær, near the Arctic Circle. And thirdly—and perhaps most importantly—this year has seen a strengthening of renewable collector activity oriented toward stable value and away from fast profit. Here’s the same idea in a soundbite: 2016 is the year of the collector, not the speculator.
Without further ado, then, we present this year’s artnet News Index, 2016’s essential guide to global collectors encompassing the insights and analysis of the entire editorial team as well as the advice of industry experts including art dealers and advisers. Without a doubt, the individuals on this list will continue to shape the face of the international art market for the next 12 months and, in all probability, for years to come. Enjoy.
To read the second 50 collectors, published June 15, 2016, see “The artnet News Index: The World’s Top 100 Art Collectors for 2016, Part Two.“
1. Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova (Russia)
Zhukova is a world-class “tastemaker” and the more active partner of Russia’s most powerful art collecting “It” couple. In the past few years she has also become a pioneering arts institution-builder. In 2008, she launched Moscow’s Garage Museum for Contemporary Art. With Abramovich, she is set to open “New Holland,” a 19-acre cultural complex set on an artificial island in Saint Petersburg (coming in August). Among the exhibitions Zhukova has underwritten at Garage in the last year are shows by Taryn Simon, Rashid Johnson, and Urs Fischer. Her collection contains thousands of contemporary artworks. Her husband, the owner of England’s legendary Chelsea Football Club, prefers modern and Impressionist trophies. Abramovich is said to have bought an Edgar Degas pastel for $26.5 million, a 1976 Francis Bacon triptych for $86.3 million, and a Lucian Freud painting for $33.6 million.
2. Paul Allen (United States) NEW!
A new addition to the list, Allen has received a great deal of ink this past year. The Seattle-based collector and founder of Microsoft opened a new non-profit, Pivot Art + Culture, in December. The billionaire also organized a five-museum touring exhibition of his collection. Titled “Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection,” the show debuted at Oregon’s Portland Museum of Art before traveling to the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC (in 2016, it will travel to the Minneapolis Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Seattle Art Museum). Additionally, Allen’s company, Vulcan, will produce the second edition of the well-received Seattle Art Fair. Allen is also looking into opening a museum of pop culture, possibly in Washington, DC.
3. Mukesh and Nita Ambani (India) NEW!
India’s richest couple controls a $20 billion family fortune that has lately turned to art collecting and funding art exhibitions related to their homeland. In 2015, Nita Ambani’s Reliance Foundation—named after Reliance Industries, her husband’s textile and petroleum empire—sponsored a show of Hindu paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago. In March, the foundation was the biggest sponsor of the Met Breuer’s retrospective of Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nita Ambani is “planning a museum of her own in India, where large, institutional venues containing the latest climate-control technologies remain scarce.”
4. Robbie Antonio (Philippines)
Among the biggest art collectors in the Philippines, this young real estate tycoon began by amassing portraits of himself by the likes of Marilyn Minter, Julian Schnabel, and the Bruce High Quality Foundation to adorn his Rem Koolhas-designed Manila home. Recently, Antonio transitioned to blue chip purchases by artists such as Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, and Takashi Murakami. Additionally, Antonio has also moved into prefab architecture by collaborating with design giants like the Campana Brothers and the late Zaha Hadid.
Related: The 15 Most Fashionable Men in the Art World
5. Hélène and Bernard Arnault (France)
Chairman and CEO of the French luxury-products conglomerate LVMH, Arnault has a net worth of $32.8 billion, making him the richest man in Europe, according to Bloomberg. In 2014, Arnault opened the Frank Gehry–designed Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, with commissioned works by the likes of Olafur Eliasson, Ellsworth Kelly, Sarah Morris, and Taryn Simon. His collection consists of many thousands of contemporary and modern artworks, including pieces by Agnes Martin, Pablo Picasso, and Yves Klein.
6. Bill and Maria Bell (United States)
Early in their collecting career the Bells were drawn to Andy Warhol. Today, they have become best known as Jeff Koons’s biggest supporters—they bought the artist’s massive Play-Doh (1994–2014) sculpture and waited two decades for delivery. Much like when they started collecting in the 1990s, this power couple is well poised to take advantage of a softening market. In May they bought a $1.5 million Ed Ruscha painting at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art evening sale, substantially below it’s $2 million estimate.
7. Peter Benedek (United States)
Benedek, co-founder of United Talent Agency (which now represents artists), and his then-wife Barbara, a screenwriter (The Big Chill), began collecting 25 years ago when Peter bought himself a David Hockney painting as a birthday present from the now-defunct Corcoran Gallery in Santa Monica. Since then, he has amassed a first-rate store of artworks that he compulsively updates every year. In an email to artnet News, Benedek recently acknowledged adding works by the following artists to their extensive collection: William Kentridge, Jonas Wood, Lesley Vance, Ricky Swallow, Max Jansons, Tom Wesselmann, and Ella Kruglyanskaya. In his own words, his purchases over the last 12 months are “intergenerational and speak to many subjects.”
8. Lawrence Benenson (United States) NEW!
The scion of a great New York real estate fortune, Benenson is an executive vice president at Benenson Capital Partners. His father was the storied art collector Charles Benenson; over a lifetime, he amassed an eccentric trove of artworks by figures such as Joan Miró and David Wojnarowicz. The tastes of Benenson fils also run to the eclectic: Lawrence collects historical documents (he owns a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln) as well as paintings and drawings by Henri Matisse, Kehinde Wiley, Gustave Doré, and Mark Lombardi. Additionally, Benenson serves on the board of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Ad Reinhardt Foundation.
9. Debra and Leon Black (United States)
Owner of Apollo Global Management, Phaidon Books, and Artspace Marketplace, Leon Black is reported to be worth $4.7 billion. His wife, Debra, is a Broadway producer. In 2012, Leon made waves when he purchased one of four existing versions of Edvard Munch’s The Scream for $120 million. Most recently, Leon was revealed to be Larry Gagosian’s secret buyer for Pablo Picasso’s contested plaster sculpture Bust of a Woman (1931), for which the New York dealer paid $106 million. In 2014, the Blacks also bought a 17,000-square-foot Manhattan mansion previously occupied by the defunct Knoedler & Company for $50.25 million. Considering all their pricey treasures, it makes a swell private gallery.
Related: The Top 9 Takeaways from the Knoedler Forgery Trial
10. Christian and Karen Boros (Germany)
Located in a former World War II air raid shelter and S&M club, Christian and Karen Boros’ concrete abode is also home to the Bunker, an 80-room exhibition space for contemporary art that includes more than 700 artworks by artists such as Danh Vo, Ai Weiwei, Elmgreen & Dragset, Sarah Lucas, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Elizabeth Peyton, and Olafur Eliasson.
11. Irma and Norman Braman (United States)
Besides being instrumental in bringing Art Basel to Miami in 2002, the Bramans are among the handful of local figures who ensure that that city’s private collections are among the best in the world. Much of their blue-chip collection—which includes paintings by Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, and Jasper Johns and the globe’s largest private holding of works by Alexander Calder—is on view at their spectacular Indian Creek Island residence. Since 2014, the Bramans have also been engaged in another large project: Funding the design and construction of South Florida’s newest museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, set to open its new Design District flagship in December 2016, just in time for Art Basel in Miami Beach.
12. Peter Brant (United States)
After initially shedding a number of his magazine properties in a 2015 merger, Brant’s Brant Publications has reassumed full ownership of Art in America and its sister publications, while adding ARTnews to its stable. The creator of the Brant Foundation in Greenwich, Connecticut, the media mogul has single-handedly bankrolled the global phenomenon that is “dude art.” Recent shows at the Brant Foundation have included displays by Dan Colen, Dash Snow, and Jonathan Horowitz. In May, the New York Post speculated that Brant was the buyer of Maurizio Cattelan’s controversial $17.2 Hitler sculpture at Christie’s May sale.
13. Eli and Edythe Broad (United States)
A fixture of top collector lists for many a year, the Broads further solidified their influential position with the opening of the Broad, their new $140 million, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro-designed contemporary art museum in Los Angeles. The museum boasts Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room (2013), Jordan Wolfson‘s creepy robot, as well as another two thousand Instagram-ready artworks. The collection showcases the couple’s blue-chip tastes—Edythe started collecting some 50 years before her husband—as well as thematic shows, like the Broad’s upcoming Cindy Sherman survey. “We look for quality, and for things that we think are going to be huge and historically important,” Eli told Haute Living in March. “I’m interested in whether it has social commentary.”
14. Frieder Burda (Germany)
Burda, who turned 80 this year, opened his eponymous Frieder Burda Museum in Baden-Baden in 2004. His collection has grown to include more than 1,000 works of mostly blue-chip art that include pieces by German Expressionists, Abstract Expressionists, and Teutonic contemporaries like Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. In May, Burda made news for his deaccessioning of Mark Rothko’s No. 36 (Black Stripe) (1958) at Christie’s for $40.5 million. Yet Burda’s collection continues to grow. According to the German art magazine Monopol, the collector recently acquired Andreas Gursky’s photograph Rückblick (2015), which depicts Germany’s four living chancellors seated before Barnett Newman’s painting Vir Heroicus Sublimis (1950–51).
15. Richard Chang (United States)
Regularly touted as one of Asia’s top collectors, Chang founded the Domus Collection, which is based both in New York and Beijing. Since then, the investment professional has become a key broker between the art communities of both East and West. Chang is a trustee of the Royal Academy in London and MoMA PS1 and the president of New York’s Performa. Additionally, he is the vice chair of the Tate’s International Council. Chang collects work from artists at all stages of their careers. The Domus Collection told artnet News that he’s recently been focusing on established German artists Anselm Kiefer and Sigmar Polke, mid-career American abstract painters such as Laura Owens and Jacqueline Humphries, and emerging artists including Harold Ancart and Kevin Beasley.
16. Pierre T.M. Chen (Taiwan)
Though he recently stepped down from being CEO of his electronics company, Chen has definitely not retired from collecting. In fact, the Taiwanese entrepreneur made his biggest purchase ever in at Christie’s in May, when he paid $26 million for the painting Swamped (1990) by Scottish painter Peter Doig. Other works in his Western-leaning collection include pieces by Georg Baselitz, Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Marc Quinn, Andreas Gursky, and Mark Rothko. Reportedly, full-time staff help Chen buy his art. In 2014–15, some 75 works from his collection toured four Japanese museums in the exhibition “Guess What? Hardcore Contemporary Art’s Truly a World Treasure.”
17. Adrian Cheng (China)
Heir to a property-development fortune in Asia, the Hong Kong native is the founder of the K11 Art Foundation, which has staged exhibitions by artists like Olafur Eliasson, Damien Hirst, and Yoshitomo Nara at the foundation’s K11 Art Malls in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Cheng is on the board of directors of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, is a board member of the National Museum of China Foundation, a trustee of the Royal Academy, a member of Tate‘s International Council, and a member of the Centre Pompidou‘s International Circle. In March of this year, Cheng—who is among the world’s youngest billionaires—announced that he joined the board of directors of the Public Art Fund.
18. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (Venezuela and Dominican Republic)
Founded in the 1970s by Cisneros and her husband, Gustavo, the New York City and Caracas-based Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) is one of the world’s premiere collections of Latin American art. The collection ranges across ethnographic objects, colonial, modern, and contemporary art from the Americas. Additionally, Cisneros sits on the board of MoMA.
19. Steve Cohen (United States)
The former hedge-fund manager has a history of using the art trade as a financial market—mainly by buying and selling high-priced artworks—but in January he went one further. He used his $1 billion store of art trophies to secure a personal loan from Morgan Stanley’s Private Bank. More recently, the billionaire—who bought Alberto Giacometti’s painted-bronze sculpture Chariot (1950) for $101 million at Sotheby’s in 2014—acquired 1.2 million Sotheby’s shares through his new company, Point72 Asset Management, making him the auction house’s fifth largest shareholder.
20. Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz (United States)
Open to the public since 2009 in a 30,000 square foot space, the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space is a must stop on the growing tour of Miami’s private museums. Like other Miami power players, the couple pegs their yearlong exhibitions to the December opening of Art Basel Miami Beach. This year’s show, “You’ve Got to Know the Rules…to Break Them” was curated entirely from the de la Cruz’s collection. The exhibition includes works by artists Félix González-Torres, Arturo Herrera, Jim Hodges, Alex Israel, Ana Mendieta, and Rob Pruitt, among others.
21. Theo Danjuma (Nigeria) NEW!
The son of mega-wealthy Nigerian general, Danjuma got hooked on art collecting after purchasing a Julie Mehretu work on paper 2008. That single act led to a string of other notable purchases by the London-based collector: among them works by Jordan Wolfson, Cory Arcangel, Jason Rhoades, Chris Ofili, Danh Vō, Pieter Hugo, Matias Faldbakken, and Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai. According to the website of the eponymously named Danjuma Collection, the trove strives after “a firm focus on established conceptual artists” of the collector’s own generation, but “also supports emerging artists from ‘new’ geographies, particularly Africa,” reflecting Danjuma’s family ties to the African continent.
22. Dimitris Daskalopoulos (Greece)
Besides running the largest food conglomerate in Greece, Daskalopoulos owns scores of artworks by the likes of Damien Hirst, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic, Robert Gober, David Hammons, and John Bock. But instead of looking for a location for a private museum, the Greek collector has decided to support existing cultural spaces through his personal foundation, which is aptly called NEON (it means “new” in Greek). Daskalopoulos is on multiple museum boards around the world, including the board of trustees of the Guggenheim Foundation, the Leadership Council of New York’s New Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Vision Council, and the Tate International Council. In 2014, he was awarded the Independent Curators International Leo Award for his “visionary” approach to collecting.
23. Leonard DiCaprio (United States) NEW!
In the last few years the Oscar-winning actor has crossed the threshold from portrait subject (of Elizabeth Peyton’s) to high-profile power player and collector. Besides being spotted regularly at art fairs in Miami, New York, and Hong Kong, DiCaprio has also put some of his money where his mouth is, purchasing work by Frank Stella and Takashi Murikami while orchestrating high-end art auctions to benefit his environmental foundation featuring artists like Mark Grotjahn and Andreas Gursky. As with all mega-celebrities, DiCaprio fame amplifies his every move.
Related: Take a Look Inside Leonardo DiCaprio’s Growing Art Collection
24. Zoë and Joel Dictrow (United States)
Zoë Dictrow is a former magazine advertising manager, and her husbandJoel a former Citigroup executive. The collectors are well known for their support of emerging artists. According to Bloomberg, the New York-based couple bought a number of artworks at NADA Miami in December. These include pieces by Alex Dodge, Ruby Sky Stiler, and Alice Mackler. They have also been longtime collectors of more established art heavyweights, among them Gerhard Richter, Robert Gober, Cindy Sherman, and Sarah Sze.
25. George Economou (Greece)
The Greek shipping magnate started collecting 20th century European art in the 1990s and has since expanded his interests to include postwar and contemporary art. Economou’s collection spans important examples of German Expressionism, New Objectivity, and German contemporary art, including works by Otto Dix, Otto Mueller, Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz, Andreas Gursky, and Neo Rauch. The prolific collector acquires between 150 to 200 works a year, and usually buys through smaller auction houses and galleries based in Germany and Austria. Located in Athens, the George Economou Collection regularly presents exhibitions by blue chip contemporaries such as David Hammons, Rashid Johnson, and Paul McCarthy.
26. Alan Faena (Argentina)
An Argentine hotelier and real estate developer, Faena has come north to Miami to create the eponymously named Faena Arts District. Besides outfitting Miami Beach with yet more luxury condominiums, Faena has also dotted the area known as “mid-beach” with several gargantuan art installations, including a roller rink by Assume Vivid Astro Focus and a gold-plated mammoth skeleton sculpture by Damien Hirst (who else?). Did we mention Faena dresses entirely in white?
27. Harald Falckenberg (Germany)
The German lawyer and collector is known both for his discriminating eye as well as his extensive collection of avant-garde art. The collection numbers some 2,000 pieces and is exhibited inside a 65,000-square-foot former factory building in Hamburg (in collaboration with that city’s Deichtorhallen). Falckenberg was an early collector of works by artists like Martin Kippenberger, Richard Prince, and Jonathan Meese. An exhibition of Falckenberg’s store of works by Raymond Pettibon opened in February at the Sammlung Falckenberg, and will remain on view until September 2016.
28. Howard and Patricia Farber (United States)
In 2010, the Farbers made an important commitment to Cuban art and culture through the creation of the Farber Foundation and the launch of the website Cuban Art News. In 2015, the collectors founded the first Cuban Art Awards in association with the Havana Biennial, which presented a $10,000 prize to the “Artist of the year” (the ex-Carpintero Alex Arrechea) and $3,000 to the “Young Artist of the Year” (Celia & Yunior)—six months before President Obama initiated the normalization of relations between the US and the island nation.
29. Désiré Feuerle (Germany) NEW!
A former art dealer and collector of international contemporary and Southeast Asian art and imperial Chinese design, Feuerle is among Germany’s more eclectic collectors. His collection spans 7th–13th century Khmer sculpture and imperial Chinese furniture dating from the Han and Qing dynasties, as well as contemporary works by the likes of Cristina Iglesias, Anish Kapoor, Zeng Fanzhi, and James Lee Byars. He recently opened a private museum in a former telecommunications bunker in Berlin that was renovated by the British architect John Pawson. The space has been designated as an official venue for the Berlin Biennale in June.
Related: The 9th Berlin Biennale Revels in Doomsday Scenarios and Secret Spaces
30. Larry and Marilyn Fields (United States)
One of Chicago’s most prominent collecting couples, the Fields have long focused on politically-charged art, with a special emphasis on African-American creators such as Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon, Mark Bradford, Theaster Gates, and David Hammons. Both husband and wife are intensely involved with Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Marilyn joined the women’s board of the museum in 1998; Larry, a former floor trader in the commodities market, is a trustee.
31. Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman (United States)
A co-managing partner of the hedge fund MSD Capital, Glenn Fuhrman is easily one of Wall Street’s most prolific collectors. He is on the board of trustees of the MoMA, the Tate Americas Foundation, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. With his wife Amanda, Glenn is also known as a big collector of Jeff Koons and regularly loans his Koons holdings to institutions, including his own Manhattan outpost: The Flag ART Foundation.
32. David and Danielle Ganek (United States)
Financier David Ganek and his novelist wife, Danielle, keep it brash and Pop-inspired with a sprawling collection that includes work by Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, John Currin, Ed Ruscha, and Mike Kelley. David told artnet News about a recent acquisition highlight that reinforces the couple’s love of text-based paintings: a large-scale 1966 “Love” diptych by Robert Indiana. The couple also loaned Marilyn Minter‘s painting Pop Rocks (2009) to the artist’s exhibition currently touring the US (presently on view at the Orange County Museum of Art). The Ganeks say they have thoroughly enjoyed watching the painting become a viral social media phenomenon.
33. Ingvild Goetz (Germany)
A former art dealer, the formidable Goetz began collecting in the 1990s. Soon after, she founded the Goetz Collection in Munich, a private museum said to contain around 5,000 contemporary artworks. Recent art world developments have led the collector to do some serious stock-taking. Among her decisions: To move away from collecting as an investment and reconsider the art of the 1960s and ’70s. Goetz recently enlarged her collection of Italian Arte Povera artists (Mario Schifano, Dadamaino, Carla Accardi and Luigi Ghirri) and has acquired works by the Japanese Group Gutai (Chiyu Uemae, Kumiko Imanaka, Toshio Yoshida, Masatoshi Masanobu, and others). Additionally, she has purchased works by contemporaries such as Mark Bradford and Julian Rosefeldt.
34. Ken Griffin (United States)
Head of the $20 billion investment firm Citadel, Griffin made big headlines this year, but not just because of his hedge fund. Last fall, the Chicago-based investor paid $500 million to David Geffen’s private foundation for two paintings—Willem de Kooning’s Interchange (1955) and Jackson Pollock’s Number 17A (1948)—in one of the largest private art deals ever. Both paintings went on display at the Art Institute of Chicago in September. Additionally, the selective Griffin gave MoMA a $40 million donation in December.
35. Agnes Gund (United States)
Perhaps the most beloved collector in America, Gund has poured boundless time, money, and effort into countless institutions, among them MoMA, where she currently serves as president emerita and chairwoman of MoMA’s International Council, as well as chairwoman of MoMA PS1. Her collection is extensive and includes more than 2,000 artworks by artists such as Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Teresita Fernandez, and Kara Walker. Among the works she told artnet News that she acquired this year are works by Stanley Whitney and Paula Crown. She also donated works by Mark di Suvero and Sarah Sze to MoMA and the Cleveland Museum of Art, respectively.
36. Steve and Kathy Guttman (United States)
A real-estate magnate and the owner of the art-storage business UOVO, Steve Guttman serves as the chairman of the Centre Pompidou Foundation. As such, he has overseen a record-breaking number of acquisitions and donations by the foundation over the last year, including 12 works of art valued at over $7.4 million. Additionally, he and his wife, Kathy, have added to their already impressive art collection, acquiring works by a number of global artists, among them Jeppe Hein, Wyatt Kahn, R.H. Quaytman, Oscar Tuazon, Lisa Oppenheim, Pieter Schoolwerth, and Olafur Eliasson. Guttman was awarded France’s Légion d’Honneur in recognition for his work with the Pompidou.
37. Andrew and Christine Hall (United States)
The British-born Andrew Hall and his wife, Christine founded the Hall Art Foundation in 2007 to make available their collection of postwar and contemporary art works “for the enjoyment and education of the public.” Sited on a former dairy farm in Vermont, the foundation—which is made up of some 5,000 works by several hundred artists—has established partnerships with Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and, more recently, with the Ashmolean Museum of Art in Oxford, England, with “Andy Warhol: Works from the Hall Collection,” a show of more than 100 paintings, sculptures, screen prints, and drawings held earlier this year. In Vermont, the foundation is currently presenting an exhibition curated by American photographer Joel Sternfeld (May 14–November 27, 2016).
38. Marieluise Hessel Artzt (United States)
Born in Germany, Hessel Artzt lived for many years in Mexico before moving to the United States where, in 1992, she cofounded the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard). Her wide-ranging collection of contemporary art, which continues to grow, is international in scope, and consists of over 2,000 works. It is housed at Bard, which offers a unique graduate program in curatorial practice, the study of museum activities, exhibitions, art criticism, and the interpretation of art. Hessel Artzt also established the school’s 25,000 volume library and archives, and recently received ArtTable‘s 2016 Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts Award.
39. Henk and Victoria de Heus-Zomer (Holland)
Among the biggest collectors of contemporary art in the Netherlands, the de Heus-Zomers made their fortune in the food industry. The couple specializes in Chinese contemporary art but has also acquired works by important Western artists such as Marlene Dumas, Neo Rauch, Anselm Kiefer, and Thomas Struth. Three full-dress museum shows in the Netherlands have been culled from their collection since 2010: at the Singer Laren Museum, the Museum Belvédère, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The Heus-Zomers tell artnet News that in the past year they’ve purchased “important works” by, among other artists, Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangle, Liang Yuanwei, Hu Xiaoyuan, and Huang Rui.
40. Janine and J. Tomilson Hill III (United States)
According to several publications, including Business Insider, James Tomilson Hill is this decade’s Gordon Gekko. In 2014, the Blackstone Group’s vice chairman, whose collection of Renaissance and Baroque bronzes was on view at New York’s Frick Collection that year, was deemed to be a billionaire—thanks in no small part to his art. His collection, with his wife Janine, includes paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Francis Bacon, and Andy Warhol, and is thought to be worth around $500 million, according to Bloomberg. Tomilson Hill is also a trustee of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.
41. Venke and Rolf Hoff (Norway)
The Hoffs have spent 30 years assembling a large collection of Norwegian and international contemporary art that they now house in a refurbished caviar factory located well within the Arctic Circle. A not-for-profit kunsthalle, KaviarFactory mounted a 20-year survey of Bjarne Melgaarde’s work in 2015. This year’s show is a group show of 25 female artists from the couple’s collection that includes Cindy Sherman, Roni Horn, Marina Abramovic, and Nicole Eisenman. And what about in 2017? Rolf told the magazine Port that the couple is planning “a one-person show with a superstar. It will be a sensation.”
42. Maja Hoffmann (Switzerland)
A powerful force in the art world, Hoffman was recently elected as the new chairwoman of the Swiss Institute, a position she will assume this summer. A visionary philanthropist, she is the founder of the LUMA Foundation, a non-profit that supports contemporary artists working in various fields. Last year, artnet News named her one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Art, and included her on the list of the Most Influential Women in the European Art World. LUMA Arles, the foundation’s headquarters in that French city, is set to open its first building in 2018.
43. Michael and Susan Hort (United States)
For the past 13 years, the Horts have opened their Tribeca home to a select crowd of VIPs and art aficionados during Armory Week for a peek at an art collection that numbers more than 3,700 pieces. Curated by their daughter-in-law Jamie Cohen Hort (she is married to their son, the lawyer and collector Peter Hort), the events are a yearly highlight that point up family acquisitions both old and new. Among the Hort’s newer acquisitions, as relayed to artnet News, are works by Alex Olson, Benjamin Senior, Nicole Eisenman, and Martin Eder.
44. Guillaume Houzé (France)
The heir to the Galeries Lafayette department stores, Houzé has been putting on exhibitions at the family store in a space aptly called La Galerie des Galeries; this in anticipation of a new five-story, Rem Koolhaas-designed art space in Paris’s Marais district. Set to open later in 2016, the foundation will exhibit artists in Houzé’s own collection, which includes works by Cyprien Gaillard, Wade Guyton, Tatiana Trouvé, Ugo Rondinone, and David Noonan.
45. Hikonobu Ise (Japan) NEW!
Considered to be one of Asia’s “most powerful collectors” by Christie’s, Ise is the founder of the Ise Cultural Foundation, a non-profit organization that mostly supports emerging and under-represented artists and curators. The Japanese entrepreneur collects widely across areas like Japanese decorative arts and Chinese ceramics, as well as Impressionist, modern, and contemporary art. His advice to new collectors as recorded in a Christie’s interview should be hung above the auction house door: “Buy art with passion and follow your instincts—and don’t think about the price!”
46. Wang Jianlin (China)
Asia’s richest man ($28.7 billion) and the first Chinese billionaire to make it into the top 20 of a Forbes richest list, Wang is active on both the entertainment industry and art-collecting fronts (one of his American companies nabbed an Oscar for the movie Spotlight). In the last few years, the collector picked up the Pablo Picasso painting Claude and Paloma (1950) for $28.2 million and Claude Monet’s Bassin aux nymphéas, les rosiers (1913) at auction. Guo Qingxiang, who oversees Wang’s art collection, told Forbes: “Since the purchase of Picasso’s Claude et Paloma in 2013, we have been devoted to collecting original and important works representative of key developments in art history.”
47. Dakis Joannou (Greece)
A civil engineer and architect by training, Joannou heads J&P, a group of privately held international building, civil engineering, and energy companies with activities from the Middle East, Africa, and Southeastern Europe. He is also the founder of the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, which houses his enormous art holdings across disciplines and historical periods. When not tending to DESTE, according to a spokesperson who spoke to artnet News, Joannou has been keeping tabs on artists like Kaari Upson, Andra Ursuta, and Jakub Julian Ziolkowski. Joannou also serves on several museum boards worldwide, among them the New Museum, MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Tate International Council.
48. Elisabeth and Panos Karpidas (United States) NEW!
A former rally car driver, Panos Karpidas and his wife Elisabeth have become the Dallas-based stewards of the collection of Panos’s mother, the English art collector Pauline Karpidas. Housed in a 6,000 square foot building, the Karpidas Collection is the newest addition to an arts scene that now rivals Miami for appointment-only private museums. The institution’s first show includes 41 objects drawn from the Karpidas’ collection of more than 1,000 pieces, among them works by Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin, Andy Warhol, Glenn Ligon, Christopher Wool, Laura Owens, Marlene Dumas, Urs Fischer, Chris Ofili, George Condo, Mark Grotjahn, Rosemarie Trockel, Nicola Tyson, John Currin, Glenn Brown, and David Salle.
49. Kim Chang-il (Korea)
A South Korean entrepreneur, dealer, and artist, Kim opened his Arario Museum in 2014 to show off more than 3,700 pieces he has acquired over some 40 years. His growing art stash includes works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, and Nam June Paik. Currently, the Arario museum boasts branches in Seoul and on Jeju Island. Despite his many successes as a patron, the iconoclastic collector still aims to be recognized as an artist. In 2015 he told the Korea Times, “if an artist runs a business, he is an artist. However, when a businessman creates art, he is still a businessman.”
50. Alan Lau (China)
Art collector and senior partner at McKinsey & Company, Lau is one of Asia’s most influential collectors. He recently donated the work Guards Kissing (2002) by Tino Sehgal to the M+ Museum of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District—making him one of the first Hong Kong collectors to donate a major artwork to the museum. Lau is also a member of the Tate’s Asia-Pacific Acquisition Committee and is the co-chair of Para/Site, one of the most active independent contemporary art spaces in Hong Kong.
Additional reporting by Christian Viveros-Fauné.
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