The small but energy-rich Gulf state of Qatar is the world’s biggest buyer in the art market—by value, at any rate—and is behind most of the major modern and contemporary art deals over the past six years, The Art Newspaper can reveal.
Working through a number of advisors, as well as buying directly from dealers and at auction, Qatar is reliably believed to be building up a top-class collection of modern and contemporary art. Last month, Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani—the 27-year-old daughter of the Emir of Qatar and a driving force behind the country’s art buying—announced that Christie’s chairman, Edward Dolman, will become executive director of her office. Dolman will also join the board of trustees of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), which oversees museums and cultural initiatives in the country and which the Sheikha chairs.
Sheikha Al Mayassa is not the only art collector in the family: her relative Sheikh Saud Bin Muhammad Bin Ali Al-Thani has always been a passionate art buyer, and was recently named as one of the world’s top ten collectors by Artnews.