ARTnews magazine has released its list of the world’s top 200 influential art collectors. The ranking states the name of each collector, the city in which they live, their profes- sion and field of collection. This list has been drawn up annually by ARTnews for twenty-one years. This year’s ten top collectors are:
• Juan Abelló, Madrid, Finance and Industry; Spanish Old Masters, modern and contemporary art, especially Spanish;
• Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova, Moscow; Steel, mining, investments, and professional soccer (Chelsea Football Club); modern and contemporary art;
• Barbara and Ted Alfond, Weston, Massachusetts; Vail, Colorado; Fashion (retired); American art and furniture;
• Paul Allen, Seattle, Computer software and sports franchises; Impressionism, Old Masters, modern and contemporary art, tribal art;
• Plácido Arango, Valdemorillo (Madrid), Spain; Retail; Spanish Old Masters, mod- ern and contemporary art;
• Hélène and Bernard Arnault, Paris, Luxury goods (LVMH); contemporary art;
• Laura and John Arnold, Houston, Hedge fund; Impressionism, postwar and con-
• Hans Rasmus Astrup, Oslo, Shipping-and finance-related activities, contemporary art;
• Maria Baibakova and Oleg Baybakov, Moscow, Inheritance and mining industries; Contemporary art;
• Cristina and Thomas W. Bechtler-Lanfranconi, Küsnacht, Switzerland; Investments and real estate; contemporary art, photography.
The ranking is determined by the investments made by the collectors and their contribution to the world of art. Generally speaking, most major collectors promote art and are often directors of cultural institutions.
Millionaires invest in art in 2011
The increasing demand for art, watches, rare wines and vintage cars indicates that the fortunes of the very wealthy have increased after the financial crisis. Capgemini and Merrill Lynch stated in the World Wealth Report 2011 that the number of wealthy people from emerging economies is increasing, especially in Asia, which now has more millionaires than Europe.
In this period of low interest rates and volatile stock markets, alternative investments such as art allow investors to diversify their portfolios by acquiring products which are less affected by the world markets, hereby protecting themselves from any market upheavals. Although art can be considered a risky asset, investors and collectors are attracted by the aesthetic and emotional pleasure it procures.
Luxury goods represent 29% of investments in the “passion” segment of the World Wealth Report 2011. Art is in second position, with 22% of investments and this figure grows to 27% in Europe and 28% in Latin America Although aesthetic pleasure is often the apparent reason for art investments, advisors and brokers working in the domain confirm in the same report that 42% of their clients invest in the art market as they would in any other asset. Resale value and profit are thus still the primary reasons for these acquisitions.
Millionaires prefer investing in high-quality, exceptionally rare pieces. Wealthy investors from emerging countries continue to buy big Western names, but focus on the art from their own countries. The World Health Report cites the example of the Chinese artist Liu Ye, whose works trebled their pre-auction estimates at a Chinese con- temporary art sale at Christie’s. Jewels, precious stones and watches also represent 22% of investments and collector’s objects such as stamps, coins, wines and antiques make up 15% of the World Health Report’s “passion” segment. These two sectors are in high demand in Asia. In Hong Kong, for example, wine auctions have grown by 268%.