If you enjoy Mentos, Airheads, or Chupa Chups, thank the Perfettis. Augusto Perfetti’s fortune comes partly from the Italian confectionary enterprise that produces these treats, Perfetti Van Melle. The company is the world’s third largest confectionery manufacturer, employing over 17,000 employees in over 38 countries worldwide. In 2017, Forbes reported that the company, which is now owned by Augusto and his brother Giorgio, had over $2.8 billion revenue in 2017. Art is inscribed into the family’s business—Chupa Chups lollipops, which are among the confectionary’s most popular offerings, have a logo designed by the Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí.
The Perfetti candy dynasty can trace its roots back to Izaak Van Melle. In 1900 Melle started a small confectionary business in Breskens, the Netherlands. He converted the family bakery founded 60 years earlier by his grandfather into what would become a business that would grow to become one of the preeminent enterprises in its industry. Just over a hundred years later, Perfetti Van Melle was established when Perfetti Spa acquired Van Melle. But Augusto lives quite a life beyond his business, and he also owns a storied $120 million yacht that the New York Times has reported can be seen docked in St. Moritz, Switzerland, a destination for the art-world elite. One of his yachts, a 90-meter behemoth dubbed Air, made headlines after its sale to Russian oligarch, Suleyman Kerimov, who promptly renamed it Ice. What Perfetti collects is less well-known, though—a fact that can be attributed to his frequent mentions of a shyness when speaking in interviews and a preference for privacy. Nevertheless, he has established himself among the art world’s upper-most rungs.