We couldn’t help but notice that several of the world’s top-spending art buyers, including Roman Abramovich, Mikhail Fridman, and Viktor Veselberg, were on Vanity Fair’s list of Russian billionaires who were hit hardest by the country’s economic turmoil.
In the last 48 hours, as the ruble fell to its lowest value in more than a decade, Vekselberg, a major Fabergé buyer, shed $491 million, coming in second on the list of the 15 Russian billionaires who lost big time, while Abramovich, a huge collector of Francis Bacon, landed in third place having lost $449.5 million. Fridman, who came in fourth, was down $417.2 million. Ouch!
Aside from Forbes having to do some massive rejiggering on its annual listing of billionaires, artnet News is wondering whether the massive drops could have a chilling impact on the art market, especially at the high end. After all, it is the so-called trophy hunters like these who drop more than $20-million for individual lots and have played a significant role in helping the bi-annual auction seasons regularly reach $1 billion-plus totals.
Maybe it’s a good thing Art Basel Miami Beach has come and gone, as there may have been a few less private planes jetting into South Beach from eastern Europe to fuel the global buying frenzy.
Also mentioned in the report is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim who was drained of $2.99 billion. But being that his previous net worth was $67.9 billion, it’s not as big a hit to him.
Vekselberg’s net worth now stands at a still-whopping $13.6 billion, Abramovich’s is at $12.8 billion, and Fridman’s is at $12.4 billion. Carry on!
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