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Broad, Geffen make Forbes' list of top billionaire collectors*

July 24, 2009 |  2:45 pm

EliBroad When it comes to wealth-porn lists of billionaires and their possessions, no one does it with more enthusiasm -- and regularity -- than Forbes.

The publication today released its list of the world's top billionaire art collectors and the ranking contains many of the international art world's usual suspects: Eli Broad, David Geffen, François Pinault and more.

Unlike the more comprehensive ARTnews 200 list that was published a few weeks ago, the Forbes list concentrates on billionaires and excludes gallery owners and other art trade notables.

Topping the list is Philip Niarchos, son of the late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos. 

Forbes says his art is worth at least $2 billion. His collection is said to include Vincent van Gogh's "Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear" and Pablo Picasso's self-portrait "Yo, Picasso." He also owns Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Self-Portrait" and Andy Warhol's "Shot Red Marilyn."

Pinault came in second, with a collection estimated at $1.4 billion that includes 2,000-plus works by more than 80 artists such as Picasso, Piet Mondrian and Jeff Koons.

The Broads, Geffen and Ronald Lauder are ranked next, tied with respective collections said to be worth $1 billion each.

Forbes said that the value of Geffen's collection was "a matter of heated debate." Apparently, one source said the entire collection is worth only $400 million, due to the plunge in contemporary art prices while others placed it well above that estimate.

Among the other listmakers are Leon Black, Steven Cohen, Henry Kravis, Samuel Newhouse Jr. and Esther Grether, who is the only woman on the list.

Forbes said that Grether is a little-known Swiss cosmetics heiress whose owns a 7.5% stake in Swatch and whose art collection consists of  more than 600 pieces, including works by Paul Cezanne, Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon.

Forbes said all of the billionaires on its list have collections worth $700 million or more.

-- David Ng

* A previous version of this post incorrectly implied that Philip Niarchos was linked to Paris Hilton. It was in fact his son who has been linked to Hilton.

Photo: Eli Broad. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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