Len Blavatnik, the owner of Warner Music, is, as of Spring 2017, the second-richest person in the U.K., according to the Sunday Times ‘Rich List’. The Ukraine-born billionaire made his money during the dissolution of the USSR, when aluminum and energy groups were being split. Blavatnik’s lavish purchases include a £41 million house in Kensington Gardens, a slew of investments, and a Damien Hirst woolly mammoth sculpture that he bought at a charity auction at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. In 2016, he donated a tidy (confidential) sum to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, which will name the entrance hall of its new extension for him. In Miami, Blavatnik is the financier—to the tune of $1.2 billion—behind Argentinian entrepreneur Alan Faena’s Faena district which will have a cultural center alongside a hotel, condos, and a retail complex; it opened in Fall 2016. In a recent profile of Blavatnik that Connie Bruck penned for the New Yorker, British publisher Lord George Weidenfeld told Bruck that Blavatnik has been “systematically collecting very good art recently—contemporary art, and also a Modigliani, one of the best I’ve seen.” In 2017, Blavatnik was knighted by the Queen of England, and Tate Modern’s Switch House extension was renamed the Blavatnik Building after he donated £50 million.
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