Art in Qatar

Art in Qatar has been in the news for more than a decade but over the last few years there have been some headline grabbing articles about acquisitions, shut-downs, cut-backs and of course the unexpected death due to heart disease of Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani, cousin of the ruling family who was a prominent and prolific art collector.

Latest in this line of very interesting news is the recent purchase by Qatar of Paul Gauguin’s 1892 oil painting (pictured below) Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry), reportedly the most expensive art sale of all time at close to $300 million.

Paul Gaugin When Will You Marry

With all the extravagant spending a lot has been written about Art in Qatar and it’s apparent contradictions but maybe the Al Thani family are just enjoying their buying power in acquiring some priceless masterpieces. Who wouldn’t like to surround themselves with beautiful art and objects if they could and of course I don’t hear the art dealers complaining.

Below are the top art purchases made by Qatar (after the above) which has now become the painting with the highest price tag ever!

1. Paul Cézanne, The Card Players, $250 million

This was the most expensive artwork sold before Gaugin’s When Will You Marry.

2. Mark Rothko, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender), $72.8 million

This was bought in auction at Sotheby’s in 2007.

3. Andy Warhol, The Men in Her Life, $63. 4 million

Created in 1962 work, this was sold at Phillip’s, New York in 2010.

4. Fabergé egg, $9.57 million

This was bought in auction at Christie’s in 2002.

5. James John Audubon, Birds of America, $8.8 million

At the time of purchase by the late Sheikh Saud bin Mohhamed Al-Thani, this was the world’s most expensive book.

6. The Clive of India Flask, $5 million

This jewelled jade wine flask is a masterpiece of 17th century Mughal art, acquired by Robert Clive in India in 1759.

7. Girault de Prangey, The Temple of Jupiter in Athens, $922,490

This was purchased in 2003 by the late Sheikh who set a new record for the most expensive photograph.

8. 11 Rothkos, $310 million

These 11 Rothko paintings were bought from financier J. Ezra Merkin when he liquidated his collection due to involvement in the Madoff scandal

9. Werner Bokelberg, Photography collection, $15 million

136 photographs bought from the photographer and actor

10. Damien Hirst, Lullaby Spring, $19 million

The pill cabinet was purchased from Sotheby’s in 2007

It’s a massive collection of monetary value for sure and this is just an iota of the acquisitions made by Qatar but I like the range of Art in Qatar and that it is not limited at all to genre, artist or region.

Now the best thing would be if I could actually go there and see all of this!

Cover photo: Lullaby Spring