Laurent Asscher has long been notably private about his art collection—and he still is to some extent. During the opening days of the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019, there was much to see besides the main affair, including Luc Tuymans exhibition at fellow Top 200 collector François Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi. Then there was a less publicized display—in fact, not publicized at all—of a selection of artworks from Asscher’s growing collection, tucked away in the 15th-century Palazzo Molin del Cuoridoro, where Mozart once stayed during a visit to La Serenissima. Invitees who pulled up in their water taxis got to feast their eyes on works by Anselm Kiefer, Christopher Wool, Cy Twombly, and more.
Asscher’s collection now numbers around 100 works comprising contemporary American artists like Brice Marden and Richard Serra, one of whose large sculptures sits on the lawn at his residence. There are some exceptions, of course, like Lucio Fontana and Rudolf Stingel. “I try to go by quality not quantity,” he told ARTnews, citing his first acquisition, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Irony of Negro Policeman (1981), which he lent for an exhibition at Guggenheim Bilbao in 2015.
With no plans to turn the Palazzo into a private museum—in fact, it’s a private residence he opens up for the occasion—Asscher nevertheless looks forward to the next iteration of his show, in two years. Until then, those eager to learn more will just have to follow along on the collection’s Instagram, where other choice works can be gleaned.
“Having a lot of museums and collectors like François Pinault being active in Venice creates an extremely favorable ecosystem,” Asscher said. “Venice is for art what Silicon Valley is for tech.”