Qatar: the world’s biggest buyer of contemporary art?

Doha, 8 July 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).

For the past six years, the small, energy-rich Gulf states have been behind most of the major modern and contemporary art deals. According to the Art Newspaper, Qatar has become the biggest buyer on the market in terms of art value. The state’s purchasing policy is partly based on the advice of a number of Western art professionals.

With the help of consultants who buy directly from resellers and auction houses, Qatar is building a high class contemporary art collection. The country has attracted many art market experts, such as the President of Christie’s, Edward Dolman, who has been appointed Executive Director of the office of the Emir’s daughter, who is a powerful influence on the country’s acquisition policy. Edward 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 is chaired by the Emir’s daughter, Sheikha Al Mayassa.

Dolman will be in charge of acquisitions, hereby expanding the network of Qatari Museum. These museums are directed by art historian and former Director of the Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Mandle.

Eminent French stockbroker Philippe Ségalot, is said to behind most of the modern and contemporary art sales in Qatar. The country has commissioned an important project from Richard Serra, is preparing a Jeff Koons exhibition and partly financed Takashi Murakami’s exhibition in Versailles, which should be presented in Doha in 2012. Roger Mandle supervised these commissions.

Finally, the Emir’s cousin, Sheikh Saud Bin Muhammad Bin Ali Al-Thani, has always been passionate about art and is one of the ten most important collectors in the world, according to ARTnews.