Speaking of art, Jewish philanthropists are still plenty rich in art


Where has all of the Jewish money gone? Apparently to the art world.

Forbes released its list of top billionaire art collections, and the list is basically all Jewish.

Here’s the list, boiled down by Artsjournal, along with the value of their collections:

  • Philip Niarchos, $2 billion
  • François Pinault, $1.4 billion
  • Eli Broad, $1 billion
  • David Geffen, $1 billion
  • Ronald Lauder, $1 billion
  • Nasser David Khalili, $900 million
  • Leonard Lauder, $800 million
  • Paul Allen, $750 million
  • Leon Black, $750 million
  • Steven Cohen, $750 million
  • Henry Kravis, $700 million
  • S.I. Newhouse Jr., $700 million
  • Esther Grether, $700 million
  • Leslie Wexner, $700 million

All but Niarchos, Pinault, Allen and Khalili are Jewish. (I am not sure about Esther Grether. If anyone knows if she is an MOT, let me know.)

Forbes has a slideshow that individually profiles each of the billionaires and their collections.

My favorite entry?

Ron Lauder, the chairman of the World Jewish Congress:

Art collection: $1 billion
Son of cosmetics maven Estee Lauder, bought his first artwork, a self-portrait by Egon Schiele, with $10,000 given to him at his bar mitzvah. Has said that there are three categories of art: "Oh," "Oh, my" and "Oh, my God." Claims he only collects the latter. Paid reported $135 million for Gustav Klimt’s "Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer" (pictured), at the time the largest sum paid for a single painting. Today he reportedly owns 4,000 pieces including one of world’s best collections of Medieval Art and European armor. Honorary chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, exhibits some of his collection at the Neue Galerie in New York, which he opened in November 2001.

OK. So no one wants to shell out big money right now for innovative Jewish projects? No one wants to pay for day schools? The federations are in trouble?

Why not just start a collective art trust? One piece from each of these collections should go a long way to creating a mega endowment for the Jewish community. No?

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