Georgina Braham

100 art-world Instagram accounts to follow right now: Collectors

In the third of our series of five features on the Instagram accounts you need to know about. Here we turn our attention to 20 influential Collectors

Nadia Samdani and her husband Rajeeb are on a two-person mission to put artists from their homeland of Bangladesh — as well as neighbouring India and Pakistan — on the global stage. They’re best known for founding the Dhaka Art Summit in 2012, while their Samdani Art Foundation is about to open a new museum and 100-acre sculpture park in eastern Bangladesh.

The Japanese billionaire — who famously purchased Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled  for $110.5 million in 2017 — uses Instagram to document his growing collection of post-war art, as well as his search for eight contemporary artists to join him on board Elon Musk’s first commercial SpaceX trip to the moon in 2023.

The record producer Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean, and his wife, the singer Alicia Keys, have quietly transitioned to art-world moguls. As well as building a formidable collection of young Black artists including Jordan Casteel, Tschabalala Self, Henry Taylor and Kehinde Wiley, the pair have plans to establish a ‘No Commission’ art fair. Dean reportedly also persuaded rapper P Diddy to pay $21 million for Kerry James Marshall’s Past Times  in 2018.

The daughter of a Russian oil magnate, Dasha Zhukova used her fortune and business nous to found the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow with her first husband, Roman Abramovich. In 2019 she married Stavros Niarchos, heir to a Greek shipping fortune and member of a family of art collectors. Her Instagram account is an art-world hot list of people, places and parties.

To many, Cheech Marin is one-half of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong. But he is also one of the world’s biggest supporters and collectors of Chicano art — work created by Mexican-Americans. He owns some 700 pieces, which will go on display in his new museum, The Cheech, due to open in California in 2022.

An investor in cryptocurrencies and early adopter of NFTs, Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile is a leading figure in the new breed of digital art patrons. He owns more than 30 works by Beeple and co-founded the virtual Museum of Crypto Art on the Ethereum blockchain in 2020. More recently, he founded the RF Collection to display his digital artworks, and the online NFT marketplace Aorist.

The British actor, collector and co-host of the Talk Art podcast champions the idea that art is for everyone — dogs included. His account is full of photos of him gallery-hopping around the best shows in London, nearly always with his French bulldog Rocky.

Peter Ibsen, co-curator of Code Art Fair in Copenhagen, spent a decade collecting all sorts of contemporary art, then sold the lot to start again from scratch with one very strict focus — black, white and grey minimalist works by up and coming artists. On Instagram, he shares his new passion, shot in stark, white interiors, whilst also advocating for his other love: mid-century chairs. 

For Nicolas Berggruen, art runs in the blood. His siblings include an art dealer and an art historian, while his father’s collection became the foundation of the Museum Berggruen in Berlin. He recently purchased Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice as a base for his own foundation, which will stage shows in collaboration with Tate and MoMA.

From the man who owns more than 12,000 pieces of contemporary African art, and who was called ‘The King of the Selfie’ by Vanity Fair, comes an Instagram account dedicated to his main passions: emerging art scenes, rating planes and trains for their legroom, and his two dogs, Charles and Saatchi.

Art has always played a huge part in the life of Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza: her grandfather was a great collector of Old Masters and 19th- and 20th-century art, and founded Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. In 2002, Francesca established her own foundation, TBA21. Then in 2015 she set up The Current, which has its HQ in a 16th-century Venetian church and brings artists, curators and scientists together to find ways to save the world’s oceans.

Petch Osathanugrah inherited a passion for collecting art from his father, as well as the energy drinks empire that helps fund it. In 2023, Osathanugrah will unveil the Dib Bangkok museum of contemporary art, a new home for his collection of work by Western artists including Picasso and Damien Hirst, and Thai artists such as Montien Boonma.

In 2010, the Indian collector opened the eponymous Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi — the country’s first private contemporary art museum. Among the works in her 6,000-strong collection is S.H. Raza’s Saurashtra, which Nadar purchased from Christie’s in 2010 for more than £2.3 million, making it one of the most expensive Indian paintings ever sold.

One of the world’s youngest billionaires, Adrian Cheng launched Hong Kong’s huge shopping mall/gallery K11 in 2009. His impressive collection of Chinese art, which can often be seen in the background of his Instagram photos, has toured London, Venice and New York. He recently co-authored Assouline’s book Chinese Art: The Impossible Collection  with fellow collector John Dodelande

While the personal profile belonging to Suzanne Deal Booth is private, you can follow her latest art acquisitions via the account of her Napa Valley vineyard, Bella Oaks. A protégée of collector Dominique de Menil, founder of Houston’s Rothko Chapel, Booth gave James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace  to Rice University in the city. She also champions female artists, and famously installed Yayoi Kusama’s steel cube, Where the Lights in My Heart Go, at Bella Oaks, in a garden whose layout was inspired by the 17th-century Italian architect Francesco Borromini.

Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments and wife of film director George Lucas, is a keen collector of contemporary African American artists such as Gary Simmons and Kara Walker. Her collection — along with that of her husband, featuring works by Norman Rockwell and Gordon Parks — will form the core of the forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles.

The entrepreneur David Leppan likes to share photos of his holiday home in Ibiza. Inside, it’s a curator’s heaven, eclectically mixing Old Master portraits with masks from Papua New Guinea and Alexander Calder mobiles.

The South African property investor Louis Norval dedicates his account to his two loves: African art and fine food. After building up his collection for 20 years, Norval opened his namesake foundation in Cape Town to help promote arts education in South Africa. Alongside the art, he documents his mission to visit the world’s top 50 restaurants. So far he has dined in 47 of them.

With his trademark asymmetrical glasses and voracious appetite for contemporary art, the British businessman and collector Frank Cohen has been called ‘the Charles Saatchi of the North’. He uses his account to reveal his choice of upcoming artists to look out for, as well as giving updates on his curatorial collaborations with the London department store Fortnum & Mason.

Alongside a career spanning commodities, real estate and investment management, Mohammed Afkhami has found time to become an ambassador for modern and contemporary Iranian art. His collection of more than 400 works includes names like Mohammed Ehsai, Shirin Neshat and Ali Banisadr. And when not busy with all that, he sits on the Middle Eastern art acquisition committees for the British Museum and the Guggenheim.

View part 4 of the 100 art-world Instagrams to follow right now: Tastemakers