Today’s world is ever more globalized and increasingly interconnected—and that means the emergence of a new kind of multi-millionaire and billionaire with currency to spare (see The Top 10 Uber-Rich Art Collectors). Beyond their tendency to snap up properties of every shade, from penthouses to boats to businesses, this generation of tycoons, celebrities, and philanthropists are more regularly turning to another time-tested form of ritual consumption with a range of cultural benefits: art collecting. Be they heirs to Middle Eastern fortunes or young pioneers in the tech industry (see Meet 20 of the World’s Most Innovative Art Collectors), art collectors in the 21st century represent a demographic more widely varied than ever before.
To chronicle our times and these champions of the arts who hail from all corners of the planet and every possible background, artnet News has compiled the ultimate two-part list. Our roster of collectors features those who have been most active within the past 12 months and have shown a remarkable commitment to collecting.
We acknowledge that the lineup is heavily skewed toward male collectors based in the US, but beyond the usual suspects, we’ve done our best to cast a light on collectors you may not have yet heard about. We’re impressed by the number of influential women who made the cut (see The 100 Most Powerful Women in Art: Part One), as well as the marked contingent of younger Chinese men and women including Richard Chang, David Chau and Kelly Ying, Adrian Cheng, and Lin Han.
Some collectors are profiled in depth, while others, our “Collectors to Watch”—including emerging connoisseurs, those who are operating under the radar, and those who were once very active even if they’ve been quieter in recent years—are incorporated by name only.
Organized alphabetically, the index is the culmination of a three-month process that began with a poll of experts in the industry—including dealers, art advisers, and other insiders—and involved the efforts of staff and freelance writer Emily Nathan. (See Artnet News Top 200 Art Collectors Worldwide For 2015, Part Two).
We hope you find it useful!
Roman Abramovichand Dasha Zhukova (Russia)
Moscow-born Dasha Zhukova opened the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in 2008 in Moscow (see Dasha Zhukova to Debut Moscow’s Rem Koolhaas–Designed Garage Museum June 12), and, with her partner Roman Abramovich (the owner of England’s Chelsea Football Club) she is now developing “New Holland,” a 19-acre island in Saint Petersburg, into a similar creative hub. Together, they recently bought the world’s largest collection of works by Ilya Kabakov (the priciest living Russian artist). Her collection is now legendary, containing thousands of mostly contemporary artworks. Her husband seems to prefer modern and Impressionist art, if auction records are any guide.
Robbie Antonio (Philippines)
Real estate developer Antonio’s Manila home was designed by Rem Koolhaas—the first residential commission the architect had taken on in 15 years—and it houses the Filipino collector’s private collection. His current obsession is a series of portraits of himself that he has commissioned from some of the world’s hottest contemporary artists (he has already paid $3 million for the two dozen that have been completed), including Julian Schnabel, Marilyn Minter, David Salle, Zhang Huan, the Bruce High Quality Foundation, and Takashi Murakami.
Hélène and Bernard Arnault (France)
Chairman and chief executive officer of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Arnault is the richest man in France. His newest creation, the Frank Gehry–designed Louis Vuitton Foundation, opened in the Bois de Boulogne this past October (see As a Museum, Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris Disappoints), with commissioned works by the likes of Olafur Eliasson, Ellsworth Kelly, Sarah Morris, and Taryn Simon. His collection spans many thousands of contemporary and modern artworks.
Bill and Maria Bell (United States)
Maria, the former head writer of CBS’s The Young and the Restless, a chair of the National Art Awards, and a former board co-chair of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), got her start collecting modestly priced George Hurrell photos, and has always favored the work of idiosyncratic contemporary producers like Francesco Vezzoli and Mark Ryden. Her husband Bill’s taste tends toward the more iconic, including works by Marcel Duchamp. Early in their collecting career together, the Bells were drawn to Andy Warhol, but, as they recently told the New York Observer, they wanted to look to more contemporary producers—and deemed Jeff Koons an appropriate choice. These days, they have amassed a substantial collection of works by Koons, along with many other mega names.
Peter Benedek (United States)
Peter Benedek, co-founder of United Talent Agency and one of Hollywood’s most powerful agents, began collecting art some 20 years ago, and has since filled nearly all the walls of his Brentwood home and his Beverly Hills office with works by some of the biggest names in modern and contemporary art—from David Hockney and Gerhard Richter to Alex Katz, Milton Avery, and even Francis Picabia and Giorgio Morandi. He is reported to have purchased a John Currin nude long before the painter was a hot name, and an Alice Neel portrait of dealer Robert Graham—which he purchased at auction—still hangs in his office: “It’s great to have an agent looking at me every day,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.
Debra and Leon Black (United States)
Owner of Apollo Global Management, Phaidon Books, and Artspace Marketplace, so-called “buyouts man” Black is reported to have a fortune of $5.4 billion. In 2012, he made waves when he purchased one of four existing versions of Edvard Munch‘s The Scream for $119.9 million—at the time, the highest price ever paid for a work of art at an auction.
Read the full article here: Top 200 Art Collectors Worldwide