Britain’s super-rich have seen a drop in fortunes over the past year, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, which was published yesterday (24 April). Among them were the steel magnate and art collector Lakshmi Mittal, who is reported to have lost three quarters of his wealth and is now worth £7.12bn. The decline in fortune for Mittal, as well as several other major collectors, coincides with a global slowdown in the art market. One of Mittal's biggest public splurges on art in recent years was his £19.2m donation to Anish Kapoor's steel sculpture for the Olympic Park. He is ranked seventh on the rich list.
Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, who once spent £60m in 24 hours at two art auctions, lost £890m. He is now worth £6.4bn and is ranked 13th. The British collector and dealer Charles Saatchi and his brother Maurice saw a £5m dip; they are now worth £140m and take 734th spot. The London-based collector Anita Zabludowicz is worth the same as last year: £1.5bn and is ranked 67th with her husband Poju.
British artists appeared to fare slightly better. Damien Hirst’s wealth has increased by £35m to £250m; the former YBA artist, who also owns a 2,000-strong collection and a gallery in south London, comes in at number 418 on the rich list. Anish Kapoor, who has invested heavily in property, has seen no change in wealth over the past year. He is worth £130m and is ranked number 766.
Big-ticket collectors named on the Sunday Times list of richest hedge fund managers include the Belgian hedge funder Pierre Lagrange, who saw a drop of £21m. Lagrange, who sued the now defunct Knoedler Gallery over suspected fakes, is worth £237m and is the 24th richest hedge fund manager in the world. British former commodities trader, Chris Levett, who has financed the Mougins Museum of Classical Art, which houses part of his private collection, saw a slight dip of £1m, with fortunes now worth £219m. Levett is the 28th on the list.
However, a number of the world’s biggest art patrons top the list for the 100 richest people in the world. They include the Walton family with £88.7bn at number one (Alice Walton is the founder of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art); the oil billionaires Charles and David Koch, who are worth £66.5bn at number two (the latter is a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum); and Carlos Slim Helú ranked seventh with £41.1bn. The Mexican telecoms mogul opened a $34m private museum in Mexico in 2011. The LVMH boss Bernard Arnault comes in at number 18, worth £23.6bn.