‘From the age of seven I had the passion to collect and I always believed that if you are born as a collector, you will die as a collector,” Nasser David Khalili told ARTnews. For the last 45 years, the British-Iranian collector and philanthropist has been acquiring art (through the Khalili Family Trust) in eight very specialized areas, among them art of the Islamic lands (700–2000), Aramaic documents (535–324 B.C.), and Swedish textiles (1700–1900). The eight collections have been exhibited in more than 40 major institutions worldwide. “The word ‘collector’ nowadays is being used very loosely and I believe that a true collector must not only collect but conserve, research, publish, and exhibit his collection,” Khalili said.

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Nasser David Khalili


Source of wealth:
Real estate and investments

Collecting area:
Aramaic documents (353–324 B.C.); enamels of the world (1700–1900); Hajj and the arts of pilgrimage (700–2000); Islamic art; Japanese art of the Meiji period; Japanese kimonos (1700–2000); Spanish damascened metalworks (1850–1900); Swedish textiles (1700–1900)

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

Khalili holds an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts London.