Top 10 Billionaire Art Collectors: Wealth X

With art auctions setting records, spurring investment in art, Wealth-X has put together a list of the 10 biggest art collectors in the world.

Attendant prepares art during a preview exhibition for a recent Sotheby auction. (Photo: AP) Attendant prepares art during a preview exhibition for a recent Sotheby auction. (Photo: AP)

New York’s spring art auction season draws to a close on Friday with a sale at Phillips after a frenzied two weeks that saw Christie’s and Sotheby’s set a sales record.

Various media reports placed some of the world’s top collectors in the audiences at these auctions.

Combined sales of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the two premier auction houses, brought in $2 billion, passing the $1.8 billion in sales last fall and breaking records for at least three dozen artists, according to The Wall Street Journal.

However, none of the action overshadowed the drama at Christie’s last fall, when a collector paid some $142 million for a 1969 Francis Bacon painting that had been estimated at a high of $85 million.

Collectors during the current sales season kept their bidding in the mid- to low range of the art works estimates, The Journal reported.

It’s likely many collectors will show up at this year’s three Art Basel shows, the first of which opened Wednesday in Hong Kong.

In anticipation of those shows, Wealth-X, the ultra-high-net-worth intelligence and prospecting firm, has put together a list of the 10 biggest art collections in the world.

The combined value of these collections is $15.1 billion. Their owners’ total net worth is $61.9 billion.

Following is the Wealth-X top 10 list.

 Norman Braman (Photo: AP)

10. NORMAN BRAMAN, former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles football team and the owner of several car dealerships

Value of Art Collection:  $1 billion

Net Worth: $1.8 billion

According to Forbes, Braman has a 240-plus-piece art collection that includes the largest private collection of Alexander Calder’s work.

 Bidzina Ivanishvili (Photo: AP)

9. BIDZINA IVANISHVILI, prime minister of Georgia who made his fortune in metals and banking

Value of Art Collection: $1 billion

Net Worth: $5.7 billion

Ivanishvili’s extensive collection includes “Dora Maar with Cat” by Pablo Picasso, which he bought at Sotheby’s in 2006 for $95 million, according to Forbes.

Samuel Newhouse (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) 

8. SAMUEL NEWHOUSE, chairman and CEO of Advance Publications in New York, which he and his brother Donald inherited from their father

Value of Art Collection: $1 billion

Net Worth: $10.2 billion

Forbes reports that “Si” Newhouse owns an extensive collection of modern art.

Picasso's famed La Reve, which Stephen Cohen purchased from Steve Wynn for $150 million in 2012.

7. STEVEN COHEN, founder of SAC Capital Advisors

Value of Art Collection: $1 billion

Net Worth: $11.1 billion

Cohen’s art collection includes works by Warhol, Picasso (his "La Reve" seen above), Cézanne, de Kooning, Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons and Gerhard Richter, according to Vanity Fair.

Francois Pinault (Photo: AP)

6. FRANCOIS PINAULT, luxury goods magnate

Value of Art Collection: $1.4 billion

Net Worth: $14 billion

Pinault is the 100% owner of Christie’s, which sold $5.9 billion worth of art at auction in 2013. His personal collection comprises 2,000-plus works by artists such as Picasso, Mondrian and Jeff Koons, according to Forbes.

Ezra, left and David Nahmad (Photo: AP)

5. EZRA NAHMAD (pictured on left)

Value of Art Collection: $1.5 billion

Net Worth: $1.6 billion

4. DAVID NAHMAD (pictured on right)

Value of Art Collection: $1.5 billion

Net Worth: $1.8 billion

Brothers David and Ezra Nahmad are international megadealers of modern and impressionist art. According to Forbes, they own an inventory worth some $3 billion that is stored in a duty-free warehouse next to the Geneva, Switzerland airport. Their stockpile includes works by more than 400 major artists, from Monet and Matisse to Renoir and Rothko, and includes 300 Picassos, worth some $900 million. The brothers, who hold their assets jointly, split 50/50, buy and sell most of their pieces at auction.

The buyer of Vincent van Gogh's "Self-Portrait," at a November 1998 Christie's auction; it sold for $71.5 million.

3. PHILIP NIARCHOS, oldest son of Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos

Value of Art Collection: $2.2 billion

Net Worth: $2.5 billion

Philip Niarchos inherited the bulk of his father's art collection, which is said to include the largest private holding of Van Goghs. According to Forbes, Niarchos has grown the collection, adding post-war and contemporary works.

Eli and Edythe Broad (Photo: AP) 

2. ELI BROAD, founder of Kaufman and Broad Home Corp. (now KB Home) and former owner of Sun Life Insurance Company of America (now SunAmerica)

Value of Art Collection: $2.2 billion

Net Worth: $6.9 billion

Besides his own personal art collection, Broad and his wife Edythe’s foundations hold more than $2 billion of art.

David Geffen (Photo: AP)

1. DAVID GEFFEN, founder of founded Asylum Records and Geffen Records

Value of Art Collection: $2.3 billion

Net Worth: $6.3 billion

Geffen is a major collector of works by American artists from the second half of the 20th century, including Pollock, Rothko and de Kooning.

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