Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Photography Collectors in the 2010 ARTnews 200

Every year, ARTnews publishes its list of the largest, most active art collectors in the world (here, magazine cover at right, via ARTnews), complete with their geographic location(s), how they came into their money, and the general categories of their often varied collections. Given our photography focus, we're always interested to see which photography collectors are on the annual list.

Compared to the 2009 list, not much has changed. Eight of the 2010 collectors who have the word "photography" in their bio were on the list last year:

Cristina and Thomas W. Bechtler-Lanfranconi
Joop van Caldenborgh
Danielle and David Ganek
Ydessa Hendeles
Martin Z. Margulies
Lisa S. and John A. Pritzker
Aby J. Rosen
Chara Schreyer
Of the other 2009 listed "photography" collectors, Sheikh Saud bin Mohammad bin Ali al-Thani is still very much on the active list, but photography is no longer part of his diverse bio. Leonora and Jimmy Belilty are not included at all in 2010.
Two new "photography" names have been included in 2010:
Ella Fontanals Cisneros
Thomas H. Lee and Ann Tenenbaum
This short photo-focused list is a little deceiving, in that more than 85% of the names on the complete list of 200 collectors have "modern" or "contemporary" art in their bios, so many of them could (and likely do) collect some photography as a subset of their larger efforts, likely at the top end of the contemporary market that crosses over from traditional vintage photography.
Overall, my takeaway from this year's list is that the world of focused photography collecting remains relatively small, and that the largest, most powerful collectors remain fairly constant/consistent from year to year; most people don't change their collecting passions overnight, especially coming out of an economic downturn. This kind of list is however a strong reminder that the major challenge for the community as a whole is how to entice more and more significant contemporary collectors to pay more attention to photography; this is the "low hanging fruit" in terms of potential growth.
By the way, if your name is on the list above and we don't already know that you are visiting this site from time to time, please do drop us a line to say hello.

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