Financial Times discerns new collector type from BRIC, Middle East


The Financial Times recently reported that top auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s are putting together special sales in an effort to grab the attention of the collectors from Russia, Asia and the Middle East who are showing surprisingly broad collecting interests.

Model of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Image from

Model of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Image from

The article, titled “Auctioneers target Medici-style collectors” and published in June 2011, says,

Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s are focusing their efforts on selling to newly-wealthy buyers from Russia, Asia and the Middle East who will be bidding for prized art works.

The sales featured a broad rather than focussed selection.

Jussi Pylkkänen, president and chairman of Christie’s Europe, Middle East, Russia and India, said the breadth of the show was determined by demand. ‘We are seeing a kind of ‘Medici’ collector on the scene – interested in the best painting, sculpture and furniture, rather than in a narrow field,’ he said.

The article also mentions that “among the bidders will be representatives from new museums shortly to be opened in the Middle East, which are aiming to establish prestigious collections to put on show.” Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art opened in December 2010 in Doha, Qatar, and works held in the Barjeel Art Foundation collection can now be found in the Maraya Art Centre, established in March 2010 in Sharjah, UAE.

Big future projects reported for the region include “a Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry [and] the Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel,” and even non-profit cultural organisations are benefiting from the increase in art collecting in the region. The Arab Image Foundation, for example, won a conservation grant in 2010 from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


Related Topics: museums, trends – Asia expands, promoting art

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