David Thomson, the richest man in Canada, inherited his love for collecting (and his multi-billion-dollar fortune) from his father, Ken. While Ken Thomson focused on European art from the Italian Renaissance, ship models, and early 20th-century Canadian painters, his son’s collection is far more diverse, ranging from postwar British artists like Alan Davie, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Roger Hilton, and William Scott to photography, Inuit art, and medieval sculpture. His holdings of John Constable have been cited as the world’s best. He doesn’t necessarily keep it all, however. Selling art, he once told Artlyst, is all a part of a collection’s evolution. “A collection,” he said, “needs to evolve and seek further dimension through both release and acquisition.”

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David Thomson


Source of wealth:

Collecting area:
Modern and contemporary art; Old Masters

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

In 2007, Thomson paid $1.8 million for a Native North American face mask—at the time, the highest price ever paid for a single piece of Native North American art.