Art collectors at the uppermost echelons can be a secretive coterie. In an age when some are throwing open doors to gleaming new private museums and revealing their holdings with great fanfare, there are others whose names will never appear on a list like this—because they want no one outside their inner circle to know of their exploits.
That is why it was so striking when Yusaku Maezawa posted on Instagram about the Jean-Michel Basquiat painting he purchased for $110 million at Sotheby’s in May. He did not, like many others have in the past, whisper about it to fellow collectors who then passed it down to the chattering classes. He did not grant a news-making exclusive about it to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. He revealed it—just like that—to anyone who might have been looking at one of the world’s most popular social-media platforms.
In that spirit, for the 28th edition of the ARTnews “Top 200 Collectors” list, we asked the connoisseurs in our survey—some of them veterans and others new to the enterprise—to tell us a bit about themselves. What are some of the pieces they have acquired over the past year? Who inspired them to start collecting? Was there ever an artwork that got away? The answers we received are grand.
In the past year, in addition to a six-panel canvas by David Hockney (Woldgate Woods, 24, 25, and 26 October 2006, dated 2006), David Geffen acquired four pieces by midcareer painter Marc Grotjahn. The New York Times recently reported that Geffen owns six of the artist’s paintings and lost out on one that sold privately for $22 million. His devotion to Grotjahn is clear: “He’s the most important artist of his generation,” Geffen told the Times.
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