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Top 200 Collectors

Sylvia and Ulrich Ströher

Sylvia and Ulrich Ströher

Darmstadt, Germany

Real estate, financial assets, and private equity

Contemporary German painting; German abstract postwar art


The extended Ströher family made billions when they sold 80 percent of their shares in Sylvia Ströher’s great-grandfather’s company, Wella AG, to Procter & Gamble in 2004. They also made enemies when they sold holdings from the significant art collection of Karl Ströher, Sylvia’s great-uncle and an industrialist of Darmstadt whose art holdings—accumulated over 40 years—had adorned his home city for decades. Sylvia and her husband Ulrich Ströher have built their own impressive collection, however—and they are sharing it with Duisburg, Germany.

The couple owns more than 1,500 works, some of which are housed in the Museum Küppersmühle of Modern Art—a former mill and grain storage silo in Duisberg’s Inner Harbor that Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron transformed into a destination with close to 40,000 square feet of exhibition space. The museum’s current holdings include works by essential modern and postwar artists such as Francis Bacon, Robert Rauschenberg, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, George Segal, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Cy Twombly, among many more.

One of the most comprehensive collections of German art after 1945, it also includes pieces by internationally renowned German artists such as Josef Albers, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter, among others—and it is open to the public. In February 2019, a selection of Bauhaus and Expressionist Works from the collection of another Ströher heir—Erika Pohl-Ströher, Karl Ströher’s daughter—went up for sale at Sotheby’s. Highlights from the sale included six exceptional works on paper by Bauhaus artist and educator, Oskar Schlemmer.