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World's 12 most powerful art collectors

Last updated on: January 16, 2012 08:35 IST

World's 12 most powerful art collectors

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There is no business like art business. Whether the economy is slowing down or is in recession, avid art collectors don't mind spending millions of dollars on most sought-after works.

Here we present 12 of the world's most powerful art collectors, according to Business Insider.

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Image: Art collectors don't mind spending millions of dollars on sought-after works. A painting of Mona Lisa.
Photographs: mostinterestingfacts.com
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Wang Wei and Liu Yiqian

Shanghai businessman Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei are among the most famous art collectors in the world.

Wang acts as a curator for the pair's enormous collection, which consists primarily of Chinese art, according to BBC News.

In October 2010, Liu paid about $11 million for a Qing Dynasty imperial throne with carved dragons at Sotheby's Hong Kong, BBC reported.

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Image: Wang Wei.
Photographs: jingdaily.com

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Artur Walther

He is a German-American art collector focused on exhibiting and publishing contemporary photography and video art. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Walther was a general partner at Goldman Sachs until his retirement in 1994.

He began collecting photography in the late 1990s and later established The Walther Collection, which is open to the public at its museum campus in Neu-Ulm, Germany and its Project Space in New York City.

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Image: Artur Walther
Photographs: peeepl.com

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Sheikha Al Mayassa

She is the daughter of the Emir of Qatar and chair of the board of the Qatar Museums Authority. This year, Art+Auction called her the most powerful person in the art world.

She is in charge of purchasing art for Qatar, the world's biggest buyer of modern art. She's believed to be behind major acquisitions including Rothkos, Warhols, and other works in Doha's three national museums, according to ArtInfo.

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Image: Sheikha Al Mayassa.
Photographs: dohanews.com

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Budi Tek

Having made a fortune in agricultural products, Tek began collecting contemporary art about 10 years ago.

Around 2004, he began to focus on Chinese art, building up an impressive collection, not just of marquee names like Yue Minjun, Fang Lijun, Wang Guangyi, and Zhang Xiaogang, but also of emerging talents, like the controversial artist couple Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, according to artinfo.

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Image: Budi Tek.
Photographs: tazran.com

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Steven and Chiara Rosenblum

Steve is the founder of European digital goods e-tailer Pixmania. Last year the couple opened Rosenblum Collection and Friends, a contemporary art showroom in Paris.

They started collecting African masks, but have moved towards contemporary art, according to Business Insider.

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Image: Steven and Chiara Rosenblum.
Photographs: artinfo.com

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Francois Pinault

He is a French businessman who runs the retail company PPR.

Pinault owns one of the biggest collections of contemporary art worldwide. On the magazine ArtReview's 2006 list of most powerful people in modern art, he was ranked in first place.

In 2006 he obtained the ownership of Palazzo Grassi in Venice to display the collection. He has collected works by Damien Hirst.

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Image: Francois-Henri Pinault, son of Francois Pinault, with his wife Salma Hayek.
Photographs: businessoffashion.com

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Jose, Alberto and David Mugrabi

Jose, an Israeli art collector, owns the world's largest collection of paintings by Andy Warhol. His art collection includes works by Renoir, Picasso, Rodin, Ernst, Daumier, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, in addition to 800 Warhols.

In November 1988, at Sotheby's in New York, he set a new world record for Warhol's work when he purchased "Twenty Marilyns" for $3.96 million. In May 2002 he acquired one of Duchamp's Fountain Readymades for $1 million.

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Image: Jose with his sons Alberto and David.
Photographs: curatedmag.com

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Pauline Karpidas

She is an English contemporary art collector, private art space benefactor, socialite, and patron of the arts.

Karpidas was married to Constantine Karpidas a Greek shipping magnate. She was introduced to contemporary art by Athens art dealer Alexander Iolas in 1975.

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Image: Pauline Karpidas with Stellan Holm.
Photographs: stylemens.typepad.com

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Laurence Graff

He is an English jeweller. He is best known as a supplier of unique jewellery and rare jewels to the wealthy.

In 2008, he bought the Wittelsbach Diamond for $24.3 million. He recut the diamond, removing four carats and receiving criticism for altering the historic jewel.

In 2010 he set a record for the highest price ever paid for a jewel at auction, $46 million, for a pink diamond.

Graff is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion as of 2011.

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Image: Laurence Graff.
Photographs: professionaljeweller.com

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George Economou

The Greek shipping magnate eschews buying at Sotheby's, Christie's, and major international galleries but is faithful to smaller auction houses and galleries in Germany and Austria, according to artinfo.

He acquires art - overwhelmingly paintings and drawings - at a feverish pace of between 150 and 200 works per year, it said.

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Image: George Economou.
Photographs: shippingherald.com

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Steven A Cohen

Steven A Cohen is an American hedge fund manager. He is the founder of SAC Capital Advisors, a Stamford, Connecticut-based hedge fund focusing primarily on equity market strategies.

He has an estimated net worth of $9.3 billion as of September 2011, ranked by Forbes as the 35th richest man in America.

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Image: Steven A Cohen.
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Peter Brant

Brant is an American industrialist, businessman and entrepreneur, worth an estimated $2.4 billion.

He is also a major art collector, movie producer, and avid horseman. Brant is married to supermodel Stephanie Seymour.


Image: Peter Brant with Stephanie Seymour.
Photographs: vanityfair.com

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