David Geffen, producer and creator of Asylum Records, Geffen Records and DreamWorks SKG, owns art collection estimated at US$2.3 billion
There are private art collections that would make thousands of museum curators die of envy. Imagine: three businessmen each own a collection valued at more than US$2 billion (billion). In all, around ten private collections are worth at least US$1 billion.
This estimate is that of experts commissioned by the firm Wealth-X, based in Singapore, which specializes in advising people whose assets exceed US$30 million.
At $2.3 billion (all amounts in US dollars), the world’s largest private art collection is that of David Geffen, producer and creator of Asylum Records, Geffen Records and DreamWorks SKG. A contemporary art lover, owner of numerous works by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, David Geffen is nevertheless not in Forbes’ top 100 richest people in the world (his fortune is estimated at $6.3 billion). ). But “there is no collection that is more representative of post-war American art than that of David Geffen,” according to Paul Schimmel, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
On the second step is real estate developer Eli Broad, founder of KB Home, whose collection is estimated at $2.2 billion, for a fortune estimated at $6.9 billion. Mr. Broad serves on the boards of several major contemporary art museums in California.
Philip Niarchos, heir to the Greek shipowner Stavros Niarchos, completes the podium with a collection estimated at $2.2 billion (for a total fortune of $2.5 billion). From Van Gogh to Basquiat via Warhol, its collection embraces the art of the 19th and 20th centuries.
In 4th and 5th positions are two art dealer brothers: David and Ezra Nahmad, grandsons of a Syrian banker. These two Lebanese based in Monaco each have a collection estimated at $1.5 billion, for fortunes estimated at $1.8 billion and $1.6 billion respectively. In 2011, a small part of their paintings was exhibited in Zurich, lifting the veil on their incredible collection: Picassos, Matisses, Légers, Miros, Mondrians, but also six Kandinskys and seven Modiglianis.
The greatest fortune in this prestigious list, François Pinault ($14 billion), finds himself in 6th position for the estimated value of his personal collection ($1.4 billion). The French billionaire, founder of the luxury group Kering (formerly PPR), who has accumulated more than 2,000 works of art, is particularly infatuated with artists Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Damien Hirst.
The bottom four of the world’s top 10 all have a collection estimated at $1 billion: Steven Cohen ($11.1 billion fortune), Samuel Newhouse ($10.2 billion), Bidzina Ivanishvili ($5.7 billion) and Norman Braman ($1.8 billion).
To house their monumental collection, some billionaires are building their own museum, to make many national museums green with envy. After failing to establish an art gallery in the Paris region, François Pinault housed a good part of his collection in the Palazzo Grassi, in Venice, acquired for 29 million euros in 2005.
Eli Broad and his wife Edith are in the process of building a contemporary art museum in Los Angeles called The Broad, which will contain nearly 2,000 works from their collection.
The greatest art collectors
Rank/Name/Nationality/Value of the collection
1. David Geffen – United States – $2.3 billion
2. Eli Broad – United States – $2.2 billion
3. Philip Niarchos – Greece – $2.2 billion
4. David Nahmad – Monaco – $1.5 billion
5. Ezra Nahmad – Monaco – $1.5 billion
6. François Pinault – France – $1.4 billion
7. Steven Cohen – United States – $1 billion
8. Samuel Newhouse – United States – $1 billion
9. Bidzina Ivanishvili – Georgia – $1 billion
10. Norman Braman – United States – $1 billion