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Top 200 Collectors

Black-and-white portrait of an elderly white woman

Joop van Caldenborgh

Wassenaar, the Netherlands

Chemical industry (Caldic)

Contemporary art, including sculpture, photography, artists’ books, video, and installations; Modern art


Dutch chemical tycoon Joop van Caldenborgh has been hunting contemporary art for some 50 years, bagging major works by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Anselm Kiefer, Yayoi Kusama, Dan Graham, and Ai Weiwei, to name just a very few. The sculpture garden of this low-profile businessman’s Caldic Collection in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, includes some 60 modern and contemporary works, and is open to the public by reservation. 

In 2016, van Caldenborgh opened the Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar, to display even more work—some 500 objects—from his personal collection. And he made a major hire in Wim Pijbes, who left his position as director of the Rijksmuseum, the country’s national museum in Amsterdam, to lead the private museum of one of the world’s richest men and top art collectors. Their professional relationship quickly soured, and Pijbes quit just three weeks after it opened. (Pijbes told the New York Times at the time that his resignation was meant to save their friendship and that we would stay on as a board member.) 

The Voorlinden was designed by the Dutch firm Kraaijvanger Architects, which mostly had done work in the Netherlands. After a visit to the museum, Mark Francis, a director in Gagosian’s London operations, praised the museum’s design, telling the Times in 2016, “Every aspect of it is beautifully thought through. To be able to do it, to have both the eye and the resources, it’s an unusual combination.” 

“This newly built museum is surrounded by a landscape of dunes and meadows near the sea,” a representative of the collection told ARTnews in 2016. “Besides a collection presentation the museum will also present a program of temporary exhibitions.”

During its opening year, the Voorlinden staged the exhibition, “Anthology,” the first comprehensive survey of American abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly’s work since his death in December 2015. Works in the show, some counted among the late artist’s most significant, were major loans from the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, Tate Modern in London, the Pompidou Center in Paris, and the artist’s studio.