There is no business like art business. Whether the economy is slowing down or is in recession or the art valuations drop, avid art collectors really don’t mind spending multi-million dollars to get their hands on the world’s most sought-after artworks. For centuries, wealthy patrons and collectors have been the life-blood of the art world. And, in the recent times, the billionaire art collectors like Steven A. Cohen, Roman Abramovich, Bill Gates, Francois Pinault, Steve Wynn, Leon Black, Paul Allen, Joseph Lau, to name a few has transformed the international art market with their lavish art spending. Recently, a highly affluent New York financier Leon Black has been named as the mysterious $120 million buyer of the renowned Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch’s 1895 'The Scream', a pastel of a terrified figure with an agonized expression against a landscape with a tumultuous red sky. This highly coveted masterpiece, the fourth version of the composition, was actually sold on May 2 as part of the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern art auction.
The identity of the buyer Mr. Leon Black, who actually set the record for the biggest sum fetched by an art piece in auction, had been one of the world’s most closely guarded secrets since the dramatic and much-anticipated 12-minute auction held in May. Notably, Mr. Black competed hard in the auction to win this highly sought-after expressionist art piece, one of the four versions of ‘The Scream’ created by Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910. And, it’s been reported that another avid art collector, billionaire Steven A. Cohen was also the one among other five telephone bidders.
An iconic composition in today’s times, ‘The Scream’ actually symbolizes the plight of man in the stressful modern day scenario, showing a bald man figure clutching his head, standing atop a bridge on a river, below a reddened sky depicting the stressful time he undergoes.
Apart from Edvard Munch’s masterpiece, we have also seen some of the other notable art pieces that fetched record prices in the auctions, and were bought by the top billionaire collectors.
Roman Abramovich Art Collection
Russian oligarch and the prolific contemporary art collector Roman Abramovich bought Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece painting “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust”, which is also one of the artist’s most celebrated works, at an auction for an astounding price of $106.5 million.
Besides this, he also possesses a $33 million painting by Lucian Freud, which features a female named Sue Tilley, who is stretched naked across a sofa. Notably, this painting holds a world auction record for a living artist.
Steve A Cohen's Art Collection
One of the world’s most significant art collectors, an American Hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen, who was also one of the probable buyers of ‘The Scream’ possesses an art collection worth of $300 millions.
His collection includes some of the world’s best artwork, which includes Edvard Munch’s much known painting named Madonaa and an ultra-expensive Willem De Kooning – Woman III painting.
Steve Wynn Art Collection
Another masterpiece painting crafted by Johannes Vermeer, the Young Women Seated at a Virginal’ was bought by casino developer and owner Steve Wynn at Sotheby’s auction in year 2004 for a hefty $30 million.
Bill Gates Art Collection
The multi-billionaire and avid art collector Bill Gates owns George Bellow’s 1910 painting named Polo Crowd, for which he reportedly paid $28 million, that too in year 1999.
Apart from the Polo Ground, Bill Gates also owns like the Lost on the Grand Banks, and other notable artworks.