Friday, August 1, 2008


If you want to know what the 200 biggest collectors of Art in the world are collecting, it is easy. They collect Contemporary art : 147 of the 200 main collectors (73%) of Art prefer to buy and collect Contemporary art.

According to a extensive survey recently made by an art magazine, the preference for Contemporary art is overwhelming and it is understandable. Contemporary art offers reasonable prices and huge potential capital gains whereas Old Masters and Modern art are out of reach and much more sensitive to prices' variations on the art market.

However the second main choice of the 200 biggest collectors is ... Modern Art : 74 out of 200 (37%) collect Modern art. Once more it is not really a surprise : among the 200 biggest collectors there are more than 50% of multi-billionaires who can afford to play high stakes and pay million of dollars for a certain canvass. Inside this category, 17 (23%) collect Impressionism paintings which means that almost a quarter of people who collect Modern art do collect Impressionists painters.

Then we have the inevitable Old Masters. They are out of reach from the hands of the rich people and are affordable only by the very very rich : Paul Allen (Seattle), the Blacks (New York), Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, the Kravis (New York), the Landaus (New York), Philip Niarchos (Paris), the Plotnicks (Chicago), the Resnicks (Los Angeles), Elie and Eric de Rothschild (Paris), the Schwartzs (Bloomfield Hill), Sheikh Saud Ali al-Thani (Doha), David Thomson (Toronto) and some nostalgic and wealthy Hispanics like José Luiz Varez Fisa (Madrid), Placido Arango (Madrid), Alicia Koplowitz (picture) Marchioness of Bellavista (Madrid), the Abellos (Madrid) and the richest Mexican man Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico city). Only 20 (10%) of the biggest Art collectors in the world possess and enjoy the view of an Old Masters at home.

Behind the Old Masters and surprinsigly enough come the collectors of.... Photography (11 out of 200) which represents 5.5%, a non negligible percentage. Then we have the collectors of Expressionism (4%), Sculpture (3.5%), Asian art (3%), Tribal art (2%), African art (2%), Furniture, Islamic art and Video art (each with 1.5%).

Collectors of Pop art, Chinese ceramics, antiquities, rare books and works on paper represent globally 5% of the collector world while collectors of Rare coins, Primitive and Conceptual art represent each 0.5% ot the total.


Medici said...

may I ask, what magazine is your source for this survey?

Michel said...

I am not currently at home in Galveston and the library were I found this magazine was flooded by the hurricane in September. I think it was Art magazine but I am not sure. I am sorry we had a lot of problems in Galveston recently and I will try to find out in the coming weeks the title of this magazine.

Medici said...

Thanks for your reply, I am actually in Baton Rouge, so I know what that's like! I'm finishing up a paper for class right now, so I'll hit the library up myself.
Thanks again, and I hope everything is good with you after the flood.