Dimitris Daskalopoulos made his fortune in the Greek food industry. Over the past two decades he has amassed a collection of more then 500 works by 220 artists, including John Bock, Sarah Lucas, Matthew Barney, Lynda Benglis, and Louise Bourgeois, adding about 20 new works per year. A selection of art from his collection was shown at the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2011. The collector also founded the Athens-based contemporary art foundation NEON, which stages free exhibitions and other cultural events and programs to present contemporary art to a broader audience in Greece. He experienced his first art “epiphany” at the age of 12, in front of a Rubens painting at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The first piece he acquired was Rebecca Horn’s The Painting in the Inner Egg (1993), and his favorite work is Duchamp’s Fountain (1917/1964). He told ARTnews, “I think the role of the collector, which I consider to be that of a temporary caretaker of the physical manifestation of great ideas and artistic creativity, is to think about the present but also to look ahead and see how a collection can be a part of the world in the future.” He currently is on the board of trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Tate International Council, and the leadership council of the New Museum.

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Dimitris Daskalopoulos

Location:
Athens

Source of wealth:
Financial services and investment company

Collecting area:
Contemporary art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

When asked why he began collecting contemporary art, Daskalopoulos answered, “[I]t was the only art I could collect, because I couldn’t have the Rubens and the Goyas: they are all where they should be. Also it’s very compatible with my mentality: a bit of addressing the today and tomorrow of our society in a rebellious and creative way. That was what I was trying to do in my business as well.”