Even the art world has its One Percent, it seems. For the second year in a row, contemporary artists Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor are the only artists to land on the Sunday Times Rich List 2017, which tracks the fortunes of the UK’s wealthiest 1000 people.
Further, the net worth of both is trending up, the data show. Even though Hirst’s rank dipped slightly, to number 422 from a slot at 418 in 2016, his worth is up by a hefty £20 million to £270 million (the entry level into the Rich List’s top 1,000 this year has risen to £110 million, double the threshold of 2009). And now that the former enfant terrible YBA is firmly back on the radar with a blockbuster show in Venice, expect him to get even richer.
Meanwhile, Kapoor is far further down the list and his rank also slipped, to slot 832 from 766 last year. But don’t feel too bad for the British Indian sculptor. His net worth is listed at £134 million, up £4 million from 2016.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the list is heavy with musicians (Sting, Mick Jagger, Phil Collins) as well as entertainers such as Sir Elton John (#402) and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber (#171) who are known to be major collectors. More surprising to us at artnet News was the number of wealthy entrants (a total of three) for whom the source of their fortunes was listed as “Eggs.”
Another notable art-related component, though not explicitly mentioned on the list, is the number of ultra-wealthy executives and entrepreneurs known to be high-profile collectors within the art world: Len Blavatnik, Roman Abramovich, Laurence Graff, Victor Pinchuk, Sheikh Jamidbin Jassim Al Thani, and patrons/collectors Anita and Poju Zabludowicz.
Other indirect art-world ties included Manfred Gorvy and family (ranked #151), the South African born father of longtime Christie’s contemporary head Brett Gorvy. After a lengthy career at the auction house, Gorvy recently joined the wave of auction specialists joining the clearly lucrative private realm when he joined forces with Dominique Levy to create Levy Gorvy this past year.
The remaining 20 or so names that listed any direct connection to art (and are presumably inheritance-related) tended to fall under the label of “Land, Art” or “Property, Art” and included titled names such as “The Duke of Westminster and Grosvenor Family,” “The Duke of Northumberland,” and “The Duke of Beaufort” to name just a few.
One last, not necessarily art-related tibit? The rich just kept getting richer last year, the Times reports: “The fortunes of Britain’s super-rich have been supercharged by a ‘Brexit boom’, with record wealth and more billionaires than ever before.”
The Times says despite ongoing anxiety about Britain’s future outside the EU, “the total wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest individuals and families soared to £658 billion—a 14% rise on last year. The combined wealth of the top 500 of the Rich List surged to £580.3 billion, more than the £575.6 billion total wealth of the 1,000 richest people in 2016.”
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