World's top 10 art collectors are an eclectic lot

December 29, 1992|By Newsday

The world's top 10 art collectors are an eclectic group, including a Baltimore philanthropist, a Southeast Asian sultan, the composer of "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera," a cosmetics heir who once ran for mayor of New York, a chocolate manufacturer and the owner of a clothing store chain, according to ARTnews magazine.

In its January issue, the magazine also cites New York as having the largest number of collectors in the world.

The top 10 collectors, in alphabetical order, are: Eli Broad, a Los Angeles housing developer; the sultan of Brunei; Donald Fisher, founder and chairman of the Gap retail store chain; New York cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder; German chocolate manufacturer Peter Ludwig; Erich Marx, a German developer; Baltimore philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff and his wife, Jane, (whose collection of contemporary art, including works by Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and others, has been promised to the National Gallery of Art in Washington); Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, a Swiss steel magnate; British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber; and Leslie Herbert Wexner, chairman of the Limited stores.

The magazine cites Mr. Lloyd Webber, a producer-composer whose theater credits include "Cats," "Phantom" and "Starlight Express," as one of the top four purchasers of Victorian art since 1980. Also, in April, he paid $17.8 million at Christie's auction house in London for Canaletto's 1749 painting, "The Old Horse Guards, Whitehall."

The list, which is compiled annually by the magazine, was based on responses from 95 collectors, museum directors, curators and auctioneers.

Alan Schwartzman, an art writer and market analyst, said the list appears to be "broad but somewhat accurate."

Top collectors include "someone who collects with a level of seriousness within a category" and "someone who's involved in institutions, and patronage or donations of art work," he said.

The magazine also breaks down the top 200 collectors and where they reside: The United States has the largest number: 98. Of those, 34 live in New York state, 24 are in California, nine in Illinois, eight in Texas, and three each in Florida and PTC Massachusetts. After the United States is Germany, with 17; France, with 16; and England, with 12.

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