Who are the top 10 German art collectors?



Art Cologne 2015.
Photo: Koelnmesse.

Germany has one of the liveliest and most eclectic collecting communities in the world. As the largest economy in Europe and the most populous country, there are a large number of patrons with money to spend.

Art Cologne, the oldest and most important art fair in the world, kicks off today with its press preview and opening. In honor of the opening, we took a look at the top 10 German art collectors. Those who made the list were chosen for their innovative approach, the overall size and importance of their respective collections.

Frieder Burda

Frieder Burda.
Photo: Courtesy of Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan.

1. Frieder Burda
Son of a renowned German publisher and collector, the pursuit of his family collection came naturally for Frieder Burda. He bought his first work of art in his early thirties — a Lucio Fontana, Not less. In 2004, he opened the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden-Baden to house his growing collection of German Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and contemporary German stars, including Sigmar polke, Georg baselitz and Gerhard Richter.

Nicolas Berggruen Photo credit: Paul Bruinooge / PatrickMcMullan

Nicolas Berggruen.
Photo: Paul Bruinooge / Patrick McMullan.

2. Nicolas Berggruen
The philanthropist and investor is the son of famous collector Heinz Berggruen. Unlike his father who had a penchant for modern masters, Nicolas prefers contemporary American artists such as Ed Ruscha, Paul mccarthy, Bruce nauman, and Mike Kelley; as well as German artists including Gerhard Richter, Sigmar polke, and Martin Kippenberger. Ironically for someone who spends so much on art, he can’t exhibit most of his acquisitions because he doesn’t own a house. Known as the “homeless billionaire,” Berggruen lives in hotels.

Berlin collector and publisher Christian Boros and his wife Karen.  Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP / GettyImages

Berlin collector and publisher Christian Boros and his wife Karen.
Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP / GettyImages.

3. Christian and Karen Boros
Scion advertising agency and publisher Christian Boros is perhaps best known for the extraordinary building housing its collection, rather than its content. His collection is on display in a converted anti-aircraft bunker in the middle of Berlin. The 80-room private museum includes works by contemporary artists such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Alicja kwade, Michael sailstorfer, Klara Liden, and Ai Weiwei. Boros and his wife Karen live in a glass apartment built on the roof of the bunker.

German billionaire industrialist and art collector Reinhold Wuerth.  Photo: ODD ANDERSEN / AFP / Getty Images)

German billionaire industrialist and art collector Reinhold Wuerth.
Photo: ODD ANDERSEN / AFP / Getty Images.

4. Reinhold Würth
Founder of the Würth Group, an international wholesaler of screws, screw fasteners, dowels, chemicals and other construction equipment, Reinhold Würth has devoted much of his fortune to art. Its collection includes everything from contemporary art to Roy Lichtenstein, Georg baselitz, and Gerhard Richter to expressionists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, and Max Beckmann and German Renaissance paintings by people like Hans holbein—Although the earlier works in his collection are of much better quality than his more contemporary pieces. His collection was recently the subject of a major museum exhibition at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin.

Désiré Feuerle Photo credit: Mark G. Peters via The Feuerle Collection

Désiré Feuerle.
Photo: Mark G. Peters via the Feuerle Collection.

5. Feuerle desire
A former art dealer and collector of international and Southeast Asian contemporary art and Chinese imperial design, Désiré Feuerle is one of Germany’s most eclectic collectors. Its collection includes Khmer sculptures from the 7th to 13th centuries in stone, bronze and wood, as well as Chinese imperial furniture dating from the Han dynasties to Qing (200 BC). Cristina Iglesias, Anish kapoor, Zeng Fanzhi, and James lee byars.

Hasso Plattner.  Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hasso Plattner.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

6. Hasso Plattner
Co-founder of software giant SAP, Hasso Plattner is a great collector of important Impressionist and modern works of art. Its holdings include Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edvard munch, and Emil Nolde. The billionaire is currently funding the construction of a replica of the 18th-century Barberini Palace in Potsdam, destroyed during World War II. Scheduled to open in 2017, the Barberini Museum will house 250 works from Plattner’s collection, which he has already committed to bequeath to the German state.

Harald falckenberg

Harald Falckenberg.
Photo: via Wikimedia Commons.

7. Harald Falckenberg
Hamburg-based collector Harald Falckenberg has built a reputation for acquiring works by important artists ahead of the market. He was one of the first buyers of Martin Kippenberger, Richard prince, and Jonathan meese. His patronage of the arts earned him the Art Cologne Prize in 2009 and the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award in 2011. Falckenberg’s 2,000-piece collection is on display in a 65,000-square-foot former factory building in Hamburg, in collaboration with Deichtorhallen.

Mick Flick with art dealer David Zwirner.  Photo: artnet Magazine

Mick Flick with art dealer David Zwirner.
Photo: artnet Magazine.

8. Friedrich Christian (Mick) Film
Heir to the Weimar-era Flick industrial fortune, Mick Flick’s contemporary art collection includes works by Cindy sherman, Thomas struth, Jason rhodes, Katharina Fritsch and Manfred Pernice. Flick has a strong philanthropic association with the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin, to which he donated over 200 pieces of contemporary art in 2008 and 2015.

Julia stoschek

Julia Stoschek.
Photo: Courtesy of Billy Farrell / Patrick McMullan.

9. Julia Stoschek
Media and video art collector Julia Stoschek is the daughter of Michael Stoschek, billionaire businessman and president of Brose Farzeugteile, an auto parts company founded by her great-grandfather Max Brose. The arts philanthropist exhibits her collection at the Düsseldorf-based Julia Stoschek Collection, a private museum that includes works by established artists such as Bruce nauman and the next generation as Clemens von Wedemeyer. She recently announced the creation of a second exhibition space, which will open in Berlin’s Mitte district before 9 Berlin biennial in June.

Ingvild Goetz: owner of the internationally renowned Goetz collection Photo: courtesy of Sammlung Goetz

Ingvild Goetz: Owner of the internationally renowned Goetz collection.
Photo: Courtesy of Sammlung Goetz.

10. Ingvild Goetz
Former gallery owner Ingvild Goetz began collecting painting, sculpture and works on paper in 1984. Today his extraordinarily large collection contains nearly 5,000 works, including more than 500 video and media works, housed in a private museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron in Munich. Much of the collection is made up of works by emerging contemporary artists, and nearly half of the artwork in its collection is created by women.

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