Art collector: 6 typical profiles

Frozen speculator or compulsive hoarder, brilliant talent scout or providential patron: the contemporary art collector leaves no one indifferent! But who is he really? A portrait of 6 profiles of Collectors as exciting as each other. And you, what type of Art Collector are you?

1# The “Gold digger” art collector

We lend the gold digger colossal means. This type of collector would also be responsible for the galloping inflation of contemporary art which inflames (sometimes to the point of absurdity) international auction rooms.

Art collector Sidorowicz, Three, 2019

Sidorowicz, Three, 2019

For Cyril Mercier*, author of a thesis on Contemporary Art Collectors, some operate in a speculative mode: 

“I can resell works, either out of speculation or out of disinterest in the work. […] There may indeed be a speculative approach. Sometimes I buy in New York and resell in Paris. Contemporary art responds to a social context . So speculative art should not be seen as pejorative. It reflects our current society. It is therefore very important. »

Cyril Mercier concludes, however, that the speculative aspect stems from an unavoidable market law to which collectors are subject. However, financial gain does not seem to play an exclusive role in their commitment to contemporary art.

2# The Hunter

VBN Art Collector, Black and Flowers 3

VBN, Black and flowers 3

This type of art collector spends his time “tracking down” the  beautiful and the unusual . He “seeks perfection through harmony and beauty. (Maurice Rheims, The Strange Life of Objects , 1959).

But above all, according to Cyril Mercier, the first reasons to explain the need for collection are mainly in the feeling of pleasure . And there are many of them: the pleasure of buying a first work, the pleasure of owning, or even the simple pleasure of contemplating a work.

3# The Adventurer

Art collector db Waterman, Once upon a time

db Waterman, Once upon a time

For still others, collecting is an adventure:

“To be in contemporary art, you need a spirit of adventure”, “art is the last sector of human and intellectual adventure . ” say collectors interviewed who consider themselves to be true adventurers with a pronounced taste for risk! Art would therefore not be just a long calm river…

4# The Lover

Art collector Celia Debras, Naked Dance

Celia Debras, Naked Dance

Another archetype of Art Collector: true lovers,  for whom passion for Art and human values ​​are interdependent.

For some collectors, “the goal of contemporary art is the discovery of what is happening and also the opening of the eye, tolerance . » and to add that they are « forced to look in all directions to be jostled . »

Others see art as “a transgression  ” where “at the end of the road, you become a free man . »

5# The Spiritual

Helene Courtois-Redoute, Olivier red background art collector

Helene Courtois-Redoute, Olivier red background

The acquisition of works of art is close for some to the spiritual quest and questions the civilizational future.

The gaze of contemporary art allows you to develop your ability to look at the world . It leads to seek the deep meaning of everything. In every era and in every context, Art has always been a precursor of culture and civilization .

Some have acquired their individuality and independence in their collection :

“Art is the quest for a Grail . I had to choose a profession to please my father. Art allowed me to feed my trajectory , to have a safety valve. Finally something that belongs only to me.  says a collector interviewed by Cyril Mercier.

6# The discrete… art collector

Whatever its profile or its specificity, it seems overall that the circle of contemporary art collectors remains hermetically closed.

Catherine Fouvry-Leblois, Relaxation art collector

Catherine Fouvry-Leblois, Relaxation

“Indeed, the milieu of French Modern Art is a small milieu whose actors know each other very well, whether they are collectors, dealers, experts or curators. All of them build their relationships on similar bases: the cult of secrecy , the courteous and co- opting relationship, the functioning of a network  ” emphasizes Cyril Mercier.

The collector remains discreet and faithful to the French tradition does not wish to display his assets: “In France, we do not say his name, we hide his treasures. Out of a hundred owners of works remarkable enough to be regularly requested by museums, three, perhaps four, accept that their identity be revealed” (Mona Thomas Un art du secret: collectors of contemporary art in France ).