Meet The Biggest Celebrity Art Collectors

March 22, 2022

Although art is primarily meant for everyone to enjoy, art collecting, on the other hand, should not be taken lightly, and certainly, not for everyone. It is a keen trade that demands more than just a good eye for good arts. Art collectors typically require tons of money and prestige, making it a trade that only the elite with the big guns can handle. It’s quite like business, and art collectors have been battling toe-to-toe just to acquire a piece, even though they may not be art lovers themselves.

Below are some of the world’s top art collectors, based on the valuation of their collections.

Steven Cohen

A lover of both post-impressionist paintings and modern art, Steven Cohen, an American hedge fund manager, and investor, is all about prestige for his art collection. Cohen had spent millions of dollars for both modern and post-impressionist art, making his entire collection worth $1 billion.

Some of the notable pieces in his hold are the Bather by Gauguin, Van Gogh’s Young Peasant Woman, Gazette, and Woman III by De Kooning, one of the famous drip paintings by Pollock, as well as Madonna by Munch.

He keeps most of his collection in the offices of Point72 in New York, London, and Asia. His collection is displayed throughout the halls, while museum-quality artworks are also found at his home.

Francois Pinault

Another French billionaire and brand founder (Yves Saint-Laurent, Gucci, and many others),  Francois Pinault, has taken the world of art collection by storm for more than 30 years. A lover of modern and contemporary art, his collection now holds 2,500 pieces worth $1.4 billion. Most of his collection can be seen at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

Aside from that, Pinault also owns Christie’s, one of the world’s major and biggest art auction houses. This is enough to explain that Francois Pinault is not just a big name in collecting but also in the art world.

He owns artworks from renowned artists worldwide, including American painter Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and American sculptor Jeff Koons. His collection focuses mostly on art created in the 1960s to the present, with over 10,000 pieces from 380 artists. His famous collection consists of sculptures, photographs, and paintings.

Philip Niarchos

The first son of Greek magnate, Philip Niarchos, was with a fortune and a sizable art collection upon his father’s death in 1996. The collection includes some of the world’s biggest masterpieces, such as Van Gogh’s paintings. It is also said that the collection has a huge stockpile of Gogh’s paintings. Since then, Philip has been adding significant works and purchases on the lot, not breaking his father’s collection.

Philip Niarchos is also one of the first art collectors to put a price on Basquiat’s handiwork, buying the Self Portrait for $3.3 million after posing as an anonymous buyer at the auction. Another self-portrait that he owns is that of Van Gogh, the one after his ear was chopped. He also owns Yo Picasso by Picasso, which his father bought in 1989 for $47,850,000. He purchased Red Marilyn by Andy Warhol at Christie’s in 1994 for $3.63 million. Meanwhile, the billionaire’s CAT scan inspired the artist’s skull portraits. They were completed in 1985. Presently, his entire collection is worth $2.2 billion.

Eli and Edythe Broad

What they have is dubbed as the greatest collection when it comes to contemporary art. The Broads holds more than 2,000 pieces of works, altogether costing $2.2 billion, and they put most of these arts on display at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles.

They hold some of the most famous pieces, such as Andy Warhol’s Two Marilyn, Rauschenberg’s Untitled, and Lichtenstein’s I…I’m sorry. Their collection also features masterpieces from contemporary artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Takashi Murakami, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, and Cy Twombly.

Eli Broad is known for doing philanthropic works, his business, and starting two Fortune 500 companies. The Broads are also notable for their compassion and selflessness as they make it their current mission to share their love for art with the world.

For the past 50 years, the couple worked on making contemporary art and world-class architecture a part of everybody’s life in Los Angeles. They’re known for supporting LA Opera and The Broad Stage and founding a museum in L.A. with free general admission. It’s their way of encouraging people to experience what contemporary art is all about. Through their efforts, L.A. is recognized as a global arts capital.

David Geffen

Owner of Dreamworks Animation and founder of Asylum Records and Geffen record, David Geffen has been considered one of the smartest art collectors, a master of the trade when selling and buying art pieces. His collection is currently worth $2.3 billion.

And although Geffen has just sold heavy pieces such as that of Pollack’s (No.5, 1948) and De Kooning’s Women III, his collection is still heavy and strong, making it one of the largest art collections owned by one person.

Geffen’s fascination mainly falls on works of American artists in mid-century and postwar American art. His collection includes artists like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock.

Those who know Geffen know how much this tycoon enjoys making big deals on famous artworks. For example, he was able to sell a de Kooning and a Pollock he got from his collection to Kenneth C. Griffin for an impressive half a billion dollars in 2016. In 2006, the billionaire sold two Johns for $80 million and a de Kooning for $63.5 million.

Geffen is also known for his philanthropic works, including donating money to art institutions. For instance, he donated $100 million in 2015 to Lincoln Center. He gave the same amount in 2016 to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also pledged $150 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2017.

Ezra and David Nahmad

This duo is probably one of the least-liked teams of art collectors. Ezra and David Nahmad are known for having the most valuable art collection globally, but they are ironically not art-lovers themselves. The Nahmads are business people, and they look at art collection as a thrilling business, almost like gambling, where they sell art pieces for profit. They look at the names of Picasso and Monet as nothing but brand names like Apple or Pepsi.

Primarily, this duo will buy expensive pieces and keep them for a short while before reselling them at a high price. They hold the pieces new Geneva Airport, which saves them the chore of paying for taxes. There, one will find more or less 5,000 pieces of art, and it’s rumored that 3,000 of them are works of Picasso that are worth $900 million.

In the meantime, the value of their collection is $3 billion, making them one of the owners of the biggest and most valuable art collection in the world.

Masterworks is a fintech company democratizing the art market. Our investors are able to fractionally invest in $1mn+ works of art by some of the world's most famous and sought-after artists.