What are the world’s top collectors looking to buy in the next 12 months? Many won’t say. Asked whose work they’ll soon be on the prowl for, Seattle-based collectors Josef Vascovitz and Lisa Goodman told ARTnews, “Mostly it’s a secret—otherwise someone else will buy them first!” They were keen to admit, however, that they’ve purchased pieces by Betye Saar, Carolina Caycedo, and Peter Uka.
C. Sylvia Weber, curator of Reinhold Würth’s collection, which this past year scooped up works by Camille Pissarro, Franz Marc, and Elmgreen & Dragset, added, “Ask me again next year about what happened.”
[Explore the 2022 Top 200 Collectors List.]
Since 1990, ARTnews has compiled an annual list of the world’s 200 most active and influential collectors by consulting various industry insiders: dealers, advisers, auction house specialists, curators, and others. This 33rd edition of the Top 200 Collectors assembles the most diverse array of individuals to date. New names include Anita Blanchard and Martin Nesbitt, Basel Dalloul, Mima and César Reyes, and Jen Rubio. They join the likes of Cheech Marin, Pamela J. Joyner, Bernard Lumpkin, Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg, Darlene and Jorge M. Pérez, Ric Whitney and Tina Perry-Whitney, Paul and Trudy Cejas, and Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire, whose collection is profiled in this issue.
In addition to buying works from galleries, exhibitions, and fairs around the globe, like the Venice Biennale and Art Basel, the collectors featured in the pages that follow are often major players in the art world. They commission daring new works, endow curatorial positions and residencies, fund museum exhibitions, and head up major institutional boards. In the last case, another name new to the Top 200 is that of Denise Gardner and her husband, Gary; Denise made history in 2021 when she became board chair of the Art Institute of Chicago, the first Black woman to hold such a position at a United States museum.
Many of these collectors are thinking through the most pressing issues facing the art world today. Rodney Miller, also new to the list, started collecting 25 years ago, and has been a museum trustee almost as long. He feels that the cultural shift to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion should only continue to build. “We all benefit from having all voices heard, and we should all do our part to make that happen,” he said.
This dedication also extends to collectors’ buying practices. “The issue that persists in our minds the most might be … how we continue to ensure that world-class artists from a wide variety of geographies and identities are recognized and included in the canon of art history,” said the Gardners, who recently acquired major works by Igshaan Adams (a popular artist this year) and are on the hunt for those by Edmonia Lewis. “We have also been particularly interested in filling in historical gaps in our collection to help tell a more complete story about the power and mastery of art by people from the African diaspora.”
Added Blanchard and Nesbitt, “Lasting friendships far exceed [the value of] the objects … we collect. Our lives are enriched not just by the work the artists produce, but also the joy and fellowship we share with the art community.”
Even though much work remains, it’s conversations with artists, curators, and dealers, as well as the joy of being with art, that pushes the world’s top collectors to keep going. “An artist’s energy and purpose behind a piece radiates through the work and, in turn, you live those experiences and feel those emotions within your home and throughout the space,” the Cejases said. “Living with art is wonderful.”
A version of this article appears in the 2022 edition of the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors issue, under the title “The Changing Face of Collecting.”