What Do Top Mega-Collectors Buy?

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Whenever artworks are sold for record-breaking millions of dollars, the artworks and the collectors who spend a fortune will always immediately get the spotlight. Thanks to a recent project “The Top 10 Chief Art Collectors”, supported by Anna Tietze, an art historian and author, here is a list about 10 mega-collectors and the signature pieces they acquired.


Leonard Blavatnik

Leonard Blavatnik
London, United Kingdom

Ranked as one of the wealthiest people in Britain, he was knighted in 2017 for his services to philanthropy and has been a major benefactor to British and American universities, museums and other cultural centres.


Net worth: $17 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ by Pablo Picasso (1932)– $106.5 million (actual) | $119.5 million (adjusted)



Steven A Cohen
Greenwich, United States

Since 2000, Steven Cohen has been amassing a blue-ship collection, marked by Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Masterpiece’ (1962), Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Dream’ (1932) and Jasper Johns’ ‘Flag’ (1954), with each of these having costed him $100 million.

 Woman 3

Net worth: $14 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: ‘Woman III’ (1953) by Willem de Kooning – $137.5 million (actual) | $166.9 million (adjusted)



Kenneth Griffin
Chicago, United States

He started Citadel at age 22, now one of the largest private hedge fund companies in America. According to LARRY’S LIST collector database, his collected artists include Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Willem de Kooning, to name a few.


Net worth: $9.9 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: Interchange’ by Willem de Kooning (1955) – $300 million (actual) | $310 million (adjusted)



Dmitry Rybolovlev
Moscow, Russia

Owner of Monaco and Cercle Brugge Football Clubs, he collects especially late 19th-century and early 20th-century works. Rybolovlev owns at least two rare Paul Gauguins (‘Otahi’ and ‘Te Fare Hymenee’), Gustav Klimt’s ‘Wasserschlangen II’ (1907) and a Modigliani dating back to 1917, and not to forget, of course, this Mark Rothko’s ‘No. 6’ (1951).

 no. 6

Net worth: $6.8 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: Number 6 (Violet, Green and Red)’ by Mark Rothko (1951) – $186 million (actual) | $192 million (adjusted)


Leon Black alternative

Leon Black
New York, United States

A prominent American businessman and investor specialising in private equity firms and also a major backer of melanoma research, Black is known for owning two of the most prized works in the world: in 1987 he paid $53.9 million for Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ (1889), and then in 2012, he dropped $119.9 million on ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch.

 The_Scream_Pastel 1985 - OWNED BY ART COLLECTOR

Net worth: $6.5 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: ‘The Scream’ (pastel version) by Edvard Munch (1895) – $119.9 million (actual) | $127.8 million (adjusted)


 Elaine Wynn

Elaine Wynn
Las Vegas, United States

Regarded as the ‘Queen of Las Vegas’, her collection is estimated by Forbes to be worth some $375 million, full of big names – besides this Bacon triptych – there’s Manet’s ‘Portrait of Mademoiselle Suzette Lemaire’ and Freud’s ‘The Painter Surprised By A Naked Admirer’, and many others.


Net worth: $1.85 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ by Francis Bacon (1969) – $142.4 million (actual) | $149.6 million (adjusted)



Liu Yiqian
Shanghai, China

One of the top Chinese collectors, Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei co-founded Long Museum, showcasing a wind-spanning collection, from traditional Chines art, modern and contemporary Chinese art to ‘red classics’, and contemporary art from Asia and Europe.


Net worth: $1.38 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: Reclining Nude’ by Amadeo Modigliani (1917) – $170.4 million (actual) | $175.9 million (adjusted)



Hamad Al Thani
Doha, Qatar

From the Al Thani family that founded Qatar in 1971, he was prime minister of the country from 2007 to 2013. He bought Picasso’s ‘The Women of Algiers’ (Version “O”) for $179.4 million, exceeding its pre-sale valuation of $140 million – one of the highest valuations ever recorded at auction.

 women of algiers

Net worth: $1.2 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: ‘The Women of Algiers’ (Version “O”) by Pablo Picasso (1955) – $179.4 (actual) | $185.2 million (adjusted)


Guido 2

Guido Barilla
Parma, Italy

As current Chairman and CEO, Guido oversees a business that makes a reported 45% of Italy’s pasta and a notable 25% of the pasta in America. Guido is believed to own ‘Boy with a Pipe’, created by Pablo Picasso when the Spanish painter was only 24 years of age.


Net worth:$1.1 billion
Remarkable artwork owned: Boy with a Pipe’ by Pablo Picasso (1905) – $104.2 million (actual) | $135 million (adjusted)



Ryoei Saito

The late Japanese businessman caused a stir when he spent $82.5 million, in 1990, on van Gogh’s ‘The Portrait of Dr Gachet’ (1890) and $78.1 million on ‘Dance at Le moulin de la Galette’ by Renoir (1876). Saito had reportedly told friends that he wanted the works cremated with his body when he died. ‘The Portrait of Dr Gachet’ (1890), one of van Gogh’s best-known works, has never been found then.


Net worth: unknown
Remarkable artwork owned: The Portrait of Dr Gachet’ (1890) by Vincent van Gogh – $82.5 million (actual) | $154.5 million (adjusted)


All images are provided by “The Top 10 Chief Art Collectors” project.