Top 200 Collectors of 2019

The highly anticipated list of the top 200 collectors of 2019 has recently published by Artnews. In contrast to previous years, a brief assessment of the last decade was made to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the list. According to the evaluations, previously while the works of non-living artists are sold to the highest values, in recent years, young and living artists’ artworks sales are breaking the records. The fact that the collectors’ choices of artists begin to differ according to ethnic backgrounds and disregarding gender issues show that a new awareness is emerging. In 2018, an oil painting entitled Propped, by British artist Jenny Saville has sold for 12.4 million dollars. With this value given to an artwork of a living woman, the artist broke the sales record for the first time.

Jenny Saville, Propped, 1992. Photo Source:

The record sale of 2019 was a sculpture titled Rabbit by British artist Jeff Koons, which was sold for $90.1 million at Sotheby’s New York, last May.

Jeff Koons, Rabbit. Photo Source:

The top three names on the Artnews list have been the same for the last three years.

At the top of the list, a Russian businessman is placed, Roman Abromovic who is considered one of the richest businessmen in the world has the most valuable artworks of contemporary and modern art in his collection. Secondly, Haryanto Adikoesoemo is placed with his art collection sheltering important works of Indonesian, Asian and Western art. In the third place, Iranian-British businessman Mohammed Afkhami, who in his collection includes the world-renowned Iranian artists such as Mohammed Ehsai, Shirin Neshat, Ali Banisadr, and stars from the contemporary art world such as Anish Kapoor and Yayoi Kusama.

Roman Abromoviç, Haryanto Adikoesoemo ve Mohammed Afkhami. Photo Source:

Turkish businessmen are included in the list of the best collectors…

The list includes the names of three Turkish collectors this year. Koç Holding Chairman, Ömer Koç is a new entrant on the list. Ömer Koç’s collection shelters the most valuable works of Turkish art and works of internationally renowned artists. Halit Cıngıllıoğlu and his son Kemal Has Cıngıllıoğlu, who have been on the list of the best collectors in recent years, are also on the list with their valuable collection of modern and contemporary art.

Ömer Koç. Photo Source:

New entrants to the list and new trends in the art market…

Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean & Alicia Keys, the celebrity couple favorited in the music world is new in the list. The couple’s collection, which focuses especially on the works of African-American artists, is known as the Dean Collection. As art lovers, their mission is to provide all the necessary support for the young, emerging and living artists. Nowadays they are preparing to open an Art and Music Center in New York. The Art Center will exhibit the couple’s collection and will be teaching the young artists the art market and marketing side in arts, the opening is eagerly awaited. They believe that there are many talented and valuable artists around who should be discovered and given necessary value, in order to raise this awareness they not dealing only to build up their own collection but make people around themselves collect as well. Thanks to the couple, in 2018 their friend Sean Diddy Comb, has bought an artwork belonged to Kerry James Marshall, titled ‘Past Times’ valued for 21.1 million dollars, and within this purchase, a black painter made a record sales for the first time.

Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean. Photo: Dana Scruggs

Apart from Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean & Alicia Keys, couples such as Pamela J.Joyner & Alfred J. Giuffrida and Raymond J. McGuire & Crystal McCarry are considerable on the list. Especially with their tendency to collect undiscovered, living African American artists, these collectors are paving a way to collect artworks from various artists without considering the age, race and gender issues. They are among the best examples in terms of encouraging other collectors underlining that these issues are indisputable today.

Listed striking women collectors and their interesting projects

Among the women collectors on the list, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and Grazyna Kulczyk are attracting attention with their wide range of art collections and art projects. Austrian collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza is the founder of Thyssen-Bornamisza Contemporary Art Collection in Vienna. Apart from that, she is the founder and investor of Thyssen-Bornamisza-TBA 21 Academy in which they created a traveling platform to explore the oceans by gathering artists, researchers, and thinkers to explore new research methods, to propose solutions and to raise the awareness by art to underline the ecological problems during their trips to the oceans.

John Akomfrah Purple, 2017. TBA21–Academy, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection

Swiss collector Grazyna Kulczyk’s art collection includes renowned artists of Polish art, and the population of the female artists’ in her collection is quite remarkable. In 2019, she founded a museum in Switzerland, located on the outskirts of the Alps. The Susch Museum offers an outstanding experience to the audience with its ‘slow-art’ approach. The museum gathers the stars of contemporary art and is very interesting with its excavated architecture. For the construction of the museum, they had to dig 9,000 tons of rocks to open the gallery spaces and tunnels underground.

The first 20 names in the list are:

Roman Abramovich
Haryanto Adikoesoemo
Mohammed Afkhami
Laura Arrilliaga-Andreessen & Marc Andreessen
Helene & Bernard Arnault
Laura & John Arnold
Laurent Asscher
Hans Rasmus Astrup
Pedro Barbosa
Maria Arena Bell & William Bell Jr.
Ernesto Bertarelli
Debra & Leon Black
Len Blavatnik
Neil G. Bluhm
Barbara Bluhm-Kaul & Don Kaul
Suzanne Deal Booth
David Booth
Karen & Christian Boros
Botin Family
Irma & Norman Braman

See the complete list at

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