Walter Vanhaerents is not interested in the past. “For me,” the collector told Initiart magazine, “it’s a principle not to go back in time! I oblige myself to look at the future not the past!” That’s why his collection doesn’t contain any works created before 1970. His focus is directed, instead, toward emerging young artists—artists so new to the scene that 90 percent of those showcased at his museum in Brussels can’t be seen in any of the local public institutions. While many collectors who work with contemporary artists develop an interest in the artists themselves, Vanhaerents prefers to keep his distance. “It is important,” he has said, “to judge an artist by his work and not by who he is. I know it’s not a pleasant thing, but you have to do that.”

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Walter Vanhaerents


Source of wealth:
Real estate; Construction

Collecting area:
Contemporary art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

In “Sympathy for the Devil,” a show at the Vanhaerents Art Collection in Brussels in 2011, visitors were confronted by Farhad Moshiri's 15-foot-wide red sign stabbed through with knives when they walked through the door. The handles spelled out “Run Like Hell.”