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Billionaire Art Aficionados


by Janhavi Kumar Sapra

ARTnews recently released its list of the world’s top ten art collectors. Not surprisingly, nine of the ten  featured are Forbes Billionaires. The list is geographically diverse and features: Russia’s Roman Abramovich, France’s Helene and Bernard Arnault and François Pinault,  Hong Kong’s Joseph Lau,  Greece’s Philip S. Niarchos and Americans Eli Broad, Debra and Leon Black, Alexandra and Steve Cohen, Emily and Mitchell Rales, The only non-billionaire is Sheikh Saud bin Mohammad bin Ali al-Thani from Saudi Arabia, who wouldn’t qualify for our ranks as his wealth comes largely from his position of royalty.

Arnault, Niarchos and Lau moved into the top 10 this year, replacing Ronald Lauder, Carlos Slim and Henry Kravis.

The Top Ten, in which the world’s most active art collectors, are listed in alphabetical order, is based on interviews of collectors, dealers, auctioneers, museum directors, curators, and consultants from 22 countries. ARTnews said in its article that the global art market in general is recovering from the global financial recession. “We’re genuinely surprised about how robust the market appears to be,” Christie’s chief executive officer Edward Dolman, told them. “It’s not just the top end of the market that is strong. It has much more depth than we’ve seen in recent times.”

They also quote CEO of Sotheby’s, William Ruprecht: “China continues to be unbelievably important. The growth in wealth and interest in art in many categories is quite remarkable. They have become very active all over— in Hong Kong, New York, Paris, London. They’re buying art, houses, diversifying their assets.”

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