Alice Walton joins Broads on list of world’s 10 top art buyers

Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton is now one of the world’s 10 highest-rolling art collectors, joining perennials such as Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, in the top echelon of the annual rankings compiled by ARTnews magazine.

Beverly Hills collector Maurice Marciano, cofounder of Guess jeans, emerged as one of 17 newcomers on Artnews’ annual list of the 200 people or couples who displayed the biggest appetites for acquiring art during the last year.

The list was published online Tuesday and is featured in the summer issue of ARTnews that’s expected to hit newsstands July 16. 

Walton, founder and key funder of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., displaced Paris-based investment banker Dimitri Mavromatis in a Top 10 otherwise unchanged from last summer’s list. Americans took five of the spots, with Greenwich, Conn., hedge-fund chief Steven A. Cohen and his wife, Alexandra; investment banker Leon Black and his wife, Debra; and cosmetics tycoon Ronald Lauder and his wife, Jo Carole, joining Walton and the Broads.


Eight of the top 200 collectors have primary residences in Southern California. Media and entertainment industry figures Maria and William Bell Jr., Pamela and Jarl Mohn, Michael Ovitz and Dean Valentine, retailer Eric Smidt of Harbor Freight Tools (all from the L.A. area) and Iris and Matthew C. Strauss (he heads a San Diego real estate investment firm) repeated from last year’s list, joining the Broads and Marciano.

Other than breaking out the Top 10 collectors, who are listed alphabetically rather than by order of expenditure, ARTnews doesn’t do specific rankings.

To compile the list, the magazine consults a variety of experts, including art dealers, auction house personnel, curators and collectors, said executive editor Robin Cembalest.

“You can’t get on [the list] by buying one expensive Monet,” she said. “It’s people intensively collecting high-level work throughout the year.”


Several dealers ARTnews interviewed estimated that no more than about 200 private collectors worldwide would be willing to spend $20 million for a single work of art; at $50 million, they said, the market contracts to perhaps 50 to 100 potential buyers.

Cohen is one of 10 members of ARTnews’ Top 200 who don’t have primary residences in Southern California  but serve on boards of L.A. museums.

Dasha Zhukova, who made the list with her romantic partner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, is on the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Larry Marx, whose primary residence was listed as Aspen, Colo., with a second home in L.A., is a Hammer Museum board member, and Chara Schreyer, whose primary home is in the Bay Area and has a Los Angeles residence, serves on the Hammer’s board of overseers.

Cohen, Peter M. Brant, Daniel Loeb and Edward Minskoff are MOCA trustees living in the New York metropolitan area; the downtown museum’s board also includes top 200 collectors Eugenio Lopez Alonso, who has a Los Angeles home in addition to his primary residence in Mexico City; jeweler Laurence Graff of Switzerland and Ukrainian industrialist Victor Pinchuk.  


Damien Hirst remained the only artist who’s also ranked among the top 200 art collectors.


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