art as a form of investment for billionaires

According to a study by Singaporean company Wealth-X, the wealthy no longer just see art as a source of distraction, but also as a form of investment. There are now 2,170 billionaires in the world. Almost all of them possess works of art that amount to an average value of $31 million, or 0.5% of their assets. David Geffen, the creator of DreamWorks SKG, heads the Wealth-X list as “the billionaire who invests the most in art”, with a collection estimated at over $1.1 billion, or the equivalent of 20% of his personal fortune. He is one of the first people to buy works by Pollock, De Kooning and Jasper Johns, three of whose works he sold in 2006 for $140 million, $130 million and $80 million. Steve Cohen, who created investment fund SAC Capital Advisors, comes a close second. He owns Picasso’s Le Rêve, which he acquired for $155 million late last year, and Damien Hirst’s famous shark in formaldehyde entitled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. Next there’s Eli Broad, who is a big Warhol, Koons and Gursky collector, and Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian Prime Minister and owner of Picasso’s famous Dora Maar au chat, which he bought for $95.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2006. François Pinault owns around 2,000 works, which represent approximately 10% of his assets. Nasser David Khalili, an English businessman of Iranian origin who has invested a significant portion of his fortune (just over $1 billion) in 25,000 works of art, is also up there, as are Norman Braman, Doris Fisher, Leon Black, S.I. Newhouse Jr., among others.

NEW YORK - MARCH 15:  Inductee David Geffen attends the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2010 induction ceremony at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 15, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK – MARCH 15: Inductee David Geffen attends the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2010 induction ceremony at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 15, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
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