Billionaires from Russia, Middle East new in list top 10 art collectors

MARKET WATCH COLLECTORS There’s change at the top. ARTnews magazine’s annual list of the Top 200 art collectors in the world has four newcomers among the top 10: Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk; Mexican businessman and telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim Helú; the New York pair of investor Leon Black and his wife, Debra, and Sheik Saud bin Mohammad bin Ali al-Thani of Qatar.

The Top 10 and Top 200 lists will be printed in the magazine’s summer issue, on July 11. Now in its 18th year, the ranking is compiled according to the level of activity each collector exhibited that year.

The information gives art-world watchers a framework for judging the shifting trends in the market. Indeed, as the editor and publisher of ARTnews, Milton Esterow, said: “It’s no secret that billionaires from Russia, the Middle East, and South America have emerged as big collectors.”

The appearance of these new collectors on the list reflects a general shift in the art market away from American collectors. According to Mr. Esterow, until this year, America generated between 60% and 70% of sales, and that will change in years to come. As the list shows, the top players come from all parts of the globe.

But the change will be gradual. Of the 200 collectors, still more than half come from America and 37 are from New York. The United Kingdom boasts 15 collectors, Germany has 12, and France and Switzerland have 10 apiece.

Contemporary art is the most popular for major art collectors: Seventy-eight percent of the individuals on the list are buying that genre. Modern and Impressionist art are the second- and third-most popular genres, but collectors are also buying everything from African, South American, and Asian art to rare books, furniture, and photography.

The activity of players who are buying the highest-quality works does not seem to reflect a teetering market. While many projected that the art market would be vulnerable and perhaps even crash this year, auction sales do not support the claim. In May alone, $1.57 billion was generated by Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips de Pury & Co. during their sales of Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary art, according to Mr. Esterow’s introduction to the lists. Mr. Esterow states that some of the collections that are represented on the list are worth close to $2 billion. “These people are not concerned with spending,” he said. “For them, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on art is like buying lunch.”

A survey conducted by ARTnews this year places current annual private art sales at between $25 billion and $30 billion, “and growing.” As a London dealer, Martin Summers, told ARTnews, art is “proving to be as sound an investment as you can make these days.”

Source: New York Sun



Billionaires from Russia, Middle East new in list top 10 art collectors — 2 Comments

  1. Very interesting. I’m an artist in Miami and those at the top of the list don’t surprise me. The fact that 37 of the top collectors are in New York does.

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