Emir’s Daughter Spends $1 Billion A Year On Art Works

An emir’s daughter was named the world’s most powerful figure in the art world thanks to a massive spending spree on art works that reaches $1 billion per year.

Sheikha al-Mayassa al-Thani, the head of the Qatar Museums Authority, ranked No. 1 on the Power 100 list frmo ArtReview magazine, her second year in a row near the top of the list. The daughter of the emir of Qatar, she was chosen as the most powerful figure “on account of her organization’s vast purchasing power” and willingness to do whatever it takes to fund Doha museums.

“I think the figures definitely speak for themselves, and of the importance she has for the art market,” Mark Rappolt, ArtReview’s editor, told Reuters.

The emir’s daughter has been behind some high-profile art purchases, including the record $250 million spent on a Cezanne painting of two card players. The figure was twice as much as the previous world record for an art purchase, and helped the Qatar Museums Authority vault to the top of the art world.

There have been other purchases, including works buy Picasso, and the Museums Authority has spent millions building museums in the capital city of Doha.

“I think also in some ways you could say that the Qatari Museums Authority is symptomatic of a global art culture in which art is culturally exchangeable,” Rappoly said. “People with money have always bought and traded commodities and art has been one of them. In some ways it’s nothing new but perhaps on this scale it gets a bit newer.”

The museum’s mission statement puts this audacious quest for priceless artifacts at the forefront. The authority states that it intends to “promote and sustain museums, art and heritage at the highest global standards for community engagement, education, and enjoyment in Qatar and beyond by developing and showcasing world class collections in world class architecture.”

The emir’s daughter is only the second woman ever to place No. 1 on the Power 100 list. Last year the top spot went to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, a U.S.-born Italian-Bulgarian curator.

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