The Five Most Valuable Art Collectors
Art collecting is big business. Its so big in fact that just 5 of its top players control assets of over $11billion. It has become
one of the most lucarative investments known to man. If you had a billion dollars to invest it is advised that buying art
is your ticket to the financial stratosphere. It can be one of the most stable, reliable investments out there, and some of it
can look quite nice hanging on your living room wall.
What kind of art is the best investment depends on how impatient you are. The world of art collectors is defined by
obscene personal wealth, with a few collectors worth tripling the Gross Domestic Product of some small countries. If you
pick the right pieces, the value of your art collection can appreciate faster than pretty much any other commodity on earth.
Andy Warhol's Orange Marilyn silkscreens sold for $2,400 in the 1960's, yet when they were auctioned around the turn of
the millenium, they brought in around $17million.
The World's number one collectors are Ezra and David Nahmad- Their collection value is $3 billion. It is the most valuable
art collection on the planet and is joint owned by two brothers: The Nahmads. It is said that they have sold more art than
Their strategy is simple: Make a profit, buy a lot of art, hold it in a warehouse for a while and then sell it for a ton more
than they paid for it. This brutal simple minded approach to art ownership has given the Nahmads a fearsome
reputation in the art world. It also means ironically that they're not known for being art lovers. In that they treat art as a
stock to be gambled and traded on can put people's nose out of joint. But with backgrounds in investment banking and
in David Nahmad's case, a penchant for extremely high stakes blackjack, its hardly surprising.
The Nahmads live between New York and Monte Carlo, but they store their collection in a warehouse near Geneva airport.
It has been estimated that there are up to 5,000 pieces in the warehouse of which 300 are Picassos. That's the biggest
stockpile of Picassos anywhere in the world, and its valued around $900 million on its own. The reason for that ? According
to David Nahmad, huge era-defining artists like Monet and Picasso "are like Microsoft and Coca-Cola, we know the return
is less big than on contemporary painting, but at least its more secure".
The second most valuable collector is David Geffen. His collection value is at $2.3 billion.
Geffen is a college dropout with dyslexia, who used a fake UCLA degree to land his first mailroom job. From these mildly
dishonest beginnings he went on to found Asylum Records, Geffen Records and DreamWorks animation.
Geffen is into midcentury art with a heavy lean towards American artists, like Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Rothko.
He is widely considered to have one of the most impressive collection of this school in the world. He is also known for being
the smartest buyer and seller in the art market and with the largest art collection by one person out there. Geffen's
philanthropic work is shaping the U.S. cultural landscape. It remains to be seen what will happen to his private art collection.
The third most valuable art collector is Eli Broad. His collection is valued at $2.2 billion.
Broad is known as the "Lorenzo Medici of Los Angeles", Eli Broad is a self-made billionaire whose philanthropic work is every
bit as famous as he is. Broad, gained his fortune through financial wizardry and is the only person to have built two Fortune 500
companies: KB Homes and SunAmerica.
His interest in art dates back to 1973, when he purchased the Van Gogh's drawing Cabanes a Saintes Maries. He then picked up
a few other pieces by Miro, Picasso and Matisse.
Since then his collection has expanded to include work by:
Andy Warhol-which is essentially the distinctive last of big name, post WWII contemporary artists.
The Broad Art Foundation's mission is to make its 8,000 works as available in the public domain as possible and it lends them out
to over 500 institutions. This philosophy is in keeping with Broad's stance on wealth: he is among the group of billionaires who have
joined The Giving Pledge in which they promise to donate at least 50%of their fortunes.
Broad's personal pledge is to give away 75% of his.
The fourth most valuable collection belongs to Philip Niarchos. His collection is worth $2.2 billion
Stavros Niarchos, a Greek shipping magnate, racehorse owner, and art collector, lived a life punctuated by drug overdoses, of wives,
private jet crushes, accusations (unproven) of murder, love triangles and connections with international politics.
Philip Niarchos had the good fortune to be his oldest son. When Niarchos Sr. died in 1996, he left behind a personal fortune of
around $5 billion, and a collection of masterpieces that is rumored to include the world largest private stockpile of works by
Van Gogh. One of the interesting additions that Niarchos Jr. has made to his father's collection was Jean Michel Basquiat's
self-portrait which raised eyebrows for its sale value of $3.3 million in 1982. That's about five and a half times what Basquiat's
works tended to sell for at the time and its value suggested that Niarchos put it alongside work from some of the greatest
masters of all time.
The Fifth most valuable collector is Francois Pinault-His collection is valued at $1.4 billion.
Pinault's fortune can exemplify the saying that "small beginnings can lead to very big things". Francois Pinault began his
career chopping wood in 1963. He got smart fast turning his profession into a large timber import-export business. The
company floated on the French stock exchange in 1988.
The years since have seen the Pinault group (now known as Kering) acquire the entire Gucci group (which includes Gucci,
YSL, Stella McCartney, McQueen and Balenciaga). He also owns (among many other investments) Puma, Stade Rennais
Football Club, the Chateau Latour Vineyard, and one of the planet's largest collections of art. His dedication to art is,
thankfully not a selfish one. Pinault is commited to sharing his collection with the widest number of people possible. He
bought a controlling stake in the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2005, for $37 million and has held multiple exhibitions from
his collection there. In 2007, he was selected by the city of Venice to undertake the restoration of the Punta della Dogana.
A serious chunk of his personal collection is now permanently housed there.
Pinault's first art purchase was Mondrian's Tableau Losangique II, which set him back $8.8 million. His collection now
includes over 200 pieces from the contemporary and elite including Rothko, Warhol and Damien Hirst. Pinault is said
to be interested in opening some new museums in New York and London.
This is all the art info for this month. Look for more info next month and have fun creating.