Top Collector Robbie Antonio’s Family Has Substantial Business Ties to Donald Trump
They are partners on a $150 million tower in Manila.
As the businessman prepares to step into the role of president, a lengthy New York Times story on November 26 takes aim at US president-elect Donald Trump’s financial ties and potential conflicts worldwide.
The story opens with a discussion of Jose E.B. Antonio, a Philippine developer who is the father of Robbie Antonio, one of artnet New’s top collectors to watch and a fixture on the art circuit; Robbie is seen frequently at high-profile events including art fairs and major auctions, including Sotheby’s recent Impressionist and modern art evening sale earlier this month.
According to the Times report, E.B. Antonio, who was “quietly named a special envoy to the United States by the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte,” is building a $150 million tower in Manila’s financial district. His business partner is none other than Trump.
Following the election, E.B. Antonio flew to New York for a private meeting at Trump Tower with the Trump children, who have been involved with the Manila project from the beginning, along with Antonio’s children. Robbie confirmed to the Times that the Trumps and Antonios have other projects in the works, including Trump-branded resorts in the Philippines.
Robbie gave an interview to the Times in which he assured that there was no reason to doubt his father’s priorities. “It is for the good of the country now,” he said.
Beyond real estate, the 39-year-old entrepreneur has also developed a taste for expensive art. According to a page on Century Properties, he displays a number of blue-chip artworks in his $15 million Manila house that was designed by Rem Koolhaas’ firm OMA. In a 2013 profile in Vanity Fair, he commissioned “a series of portraits of himself by some of the world’s top contemporary artists,” such as “Julian Schnabel, Marilyn Minter, David Salle, Zhang Huan, members of the Bruce High Quality Foundation, and Takashi Murakami.”
Now, Robbie is developing designer-driven luxury homes for international clients. “I want the homes to be perceived as art pieces,” he told Forbes at Frieze Art Fair earlier this year. His first big sale was in March, via a Zaha Hadid-designed dining pavilion that sold for €1.3 million ($1.37 million).
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