Art Newsletter

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
                         anybody alive.

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:

Jasper Johns
                         Jeff Koons
                         Roy Lichtenstein
                         Damien Hirst
                         Ed Ruscha
                         Cindy Sherman
                         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.