Artists Disappear From This Year’s List of the U.K.’s Richest People While Collectors With Russian Ties Fall Down the Ranks

Here's who's on and who's off.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves 11 Downing Street on his way to parliament where he will deliver his Spending Review. Image courtesy HM Treasury and are copyright of HM Treasury.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves 11 Downing Street on his way to parliament where he will deliver his Spending Review. Image courtesy HM Treasury and ©HM Treasury.

The Sunday Times has released its annual Rich List of the wealthiest people in Britain—and this year reveals a major shakeup of the art world’s power players. In fact, the entire list has been transformed: It now names just 250 people instead of the usual 1,000. That’s because, in 2022, the 250 richest people in Britain now hold more wealth than the previous 1,000 in 2017.

While investors, property owners, and business owners have grown their fortunes in the U.K., not a single artist made the cut. Damien Hirst, who previously climbed the ranks into the 400s, and Anish Kapoor, who was in the 800s, no longer appear. Up until at least 2020, Hirst was the richest artist in the U.K. (and as far as we know still is).

Several art collectors and patrons, however, remain present on the list, if in new positions.

Tate and V&A patron Len Blavatnik, who sat at number one last year, now holds position four after his fortune dropped from £23 billion to £20 billion ($28.7 billion to $25 billion). The Ukrainian businessman made his money through media, music, and investments, but has come under scrutiny recently for his links to sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

One such oligarch, the art collector Roman Abramovich, also appeared on the list but dropped dramatically after sanctions and the forced sale of his Chelsea Football Club cost him £6 billion ($7.5 billion). He fell from number 8 to 28.

Collector and museum founder François-Henri Pinault, along with wife Salma Hayek, sit at number 22. François-Henri, the son of François Pinault, founder of the luxury group Kering and investment group Artémis, owns the museums Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice and Bourse de Commerce in Paris.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth Murdoch, who is married to artist Keith Tyson and founded the Freelands Foundation, which annually awards a mid-career female artist with an exhibition and prize money, resides at number 149. She made a fortune of £1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) through the media empire of her father, Rupert Murdoch.

Collectors and patrons Ponju and Anita Zabludowicz are at number 119 on the list with a fortune of £1.5 billion ($1.8 billion). While their source of income is listed as property and hotels, protesters have long pointed out that much of their fortune has been amassed through arms production.

Real estate heiresses Fawn James and India Rose James, who own large swaths of properties in Soho and Mayfair, where the largest concentration of galleries are in London, rank with their family at 221. They are worth £738 million ($920 million) and £1.9 billion ($2.3 billion), respectively. (India Rose also owns and runs the contemporary art gallery Soho Revue.)

The total wealth of the list adds up to £710 billion ($887 billion).


Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share