St. Moritz, Switzerland
Shipping and finance
As the heir to the fortune and art collection of his father, the Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, Philip S. Niarchos is believed to have one of the most important private collections of Impressionist and modern art in the entire world. To give a sense of its scale: one of his father’s greatest purchases was Pablo Picasso’s famed Yo, Picasso (1901), which he acquired in 1989 for $47.8 million. Niarchos has also made notable purchases of his own, such as Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, which cost him $71.5 million when it was auctioned at Christie’s in 1989. He was also suspected as the anonymous buyer of a 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat self-portrait at that same auction, which went for $3.3 million. In 1994, he purchased Andy Warhol’s Shot Red Marilyn at Christie’s for $3.6 million.
Niarchos is a member of the board of trustees at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and has served as an international council member of Tate in London. In the 1990s, the Niarchos lent five works by van Gogh to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for a retrospective in honor of the centenary of the artist’s death. Among those works were the Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Portrait of Pere Tanguy (1887). In 2007, Niarchos reportedly spent $17 million for Warhol’s Green Burning Car I (1963), a record auction price for a work by the artist at the time. Majorly fun fact: Andy Warhol’s 1985 “Skull” paintings are based on CAT scans of Philip S. Niarchos’s head.