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 Europe’s largest economy and most populous country, there are plenty of patrons with money to spend.

artistic cologne, the oldest and most important art fair in the world, starts today with its press preview and opening. In honor of the opening, we’ve taken a look at Germany’s top 10 art collectors. Those on the list were chosen for their innovative approach, as well as the overall size and importance of their respective collections.

Frieder Burda

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

1. Frieder Burda
As the son of a renowned German publisher and collector, continuing his family collection came naturally to 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 Gerard Richter.

Nicolas BerggruenPhoto: Paul Bruinooge/PatrickMcMullan

Nicholas Berggruen.
Photo: Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan.

2. Nicholas Berggruen
The philanthropist and investor is the son of the famous collector Heinz Berggruen. Unlike his father, who had a penchant for modern masters, Nicolas preferred contemporary American artists such as Ed Ruscha, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Naumanand Mike Kelley; as well as German artists including Gerard Richter, Sigmar Polkeand 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.

3. Christian and Karen Boros
The descendant of advertising agency and publisher Christian Boros is perhaps best known for the extraordinary building housing his collection, rather than its contents. His collection is displayed in a refurbished anti-aircraft bunker in the heart of Berlin. The 80-room private museum includes works by contemporary artists such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Alicja Kwade, Michel Sailstorfer, Klara Lidenand Ai Weiwei. Boros and his wife Karen live in a glass apartment built on the roof of the bunker.

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

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

4. Reinhold Wurth
Founder of the Würth Group, an international wholesaler of screws, fasteners, dowels, chemicals and other construction equipment, Reinhold Würth devoted a large part of his fortune to art. Its collection includes everything from contemporary art by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Georg Baselitzand Gerard Richter expressionists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emile Noldeand Max Beckman and German Renaissance paintings by people like Hans Holbein—Although the early works in his collection are of much higher 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 FeuerlePhoto: Mark G. Peters via The Feuerle Collection

Desire Feuerle.
Photo: Mark G. Peters via The Feuerle Collection.

5. Desire Feuerle
A former art dealer and collector of international contemporary and Southeast Asian art and Chinese imperial design, Desire Feuerle is among Germany’s most eclectic collectors. Its collection includes Khmer sculptures from the 7th to 13th centuries in stone, bronze and wood, as well as imperial Chinese furniture dating from the Han to Qing dynasties (200 BC – 18th century) and contemporary works such as than Cristina Iglesias, Anis Kapoor, Zeng Fanzhiand James Lee Byars.

Hasso Plattner.  Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hasso Plattner.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

6. Hasso Plattner
Co-founder of the software giant SAP, Hasso Plattner is an avid collector of important impressionist and modern works of art. His holdings include Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edvard Munchand Emile Nolde. The billionaire is currently financing the construction of a replica of the 18th century Barberini Palace in Potsdam, which was destroyed during the Second World War. Scheduled to open in 2017, the Barberini Museum will house 250 works from Plattner’s collection, which he has already pledged to bequeath to the German state.

Harald Falckenberg

Harald Falckenberg.
Photo: via Wikimedia Commons.

7. Harald Falckenberg
Hamburg collector Harald Falckenberg has earned a reputation for acquiring works by important artists before the market. He was one of the first buyers of Martin Kippenberger, Richard Princeand Jonathan Meese. His patronage of the arts won him the Art Cologne Prize in 2009 and the Montblanc Culture Arts Patronage Prize in 2011. Falckenberg’s 2,000-piece collection is displayed 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. Film by Friedrich Christian (Mick)
Heir to the Flick industrial fortune of the Weimar era, Mick Flick’s contemporary art collection includes works by Cindy Sherman, Thomas Strut, Jason Rhodes, Catherine Fritsch and Manfred Pernice. Flick has a strong philanthropic association with the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin, to which it donated over 200 works of contemporary art in 2008 and 2015.

Julia Stoschek

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

9. Julia Stoschek
Julia Stoschek, media and video art collector, is the daughter of Michael Stoschek, billionaire businessman and president of Brose Farzeugteile, an auto parts company founded by his great-grandfather Max Brose. The arts philanthropist exhibits her collection at the Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf, a private museum that includes works by established artists such as Bruce Nauman and newcomers like Clemens de Wedemeyer. She recently announced the creation of a second exhibition space, which will open its doors in the Berlin district of Mitte before the 9th Berlin Biennale in June.

Ingvild Goetz: owner of the internationally renowned Goetz collection Photo: Courtesy 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, her extraordinarily large collection contains almost 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 almost half of the works in its collection are created by women.

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