The most influential person in the art world is Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, daughter of the Emir of Qatar.
That’s according to Art & Auction’s top-10 list in the ninth annual Power 100 issue, published by New York-based Louise Blouin Media.
The magazine will be launched at a private party today at the Shore Club in Miami, ahead of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair that opens to VIPs on Wednesday.
This is the first year the magazine has broken out a ranked list from its annual issue on 100 movers and shakers, grouped into categories such as auctions, dealers and curators.
Only one artist was included: China’s dissident Ai Weiwei, whose 81-day detention this year made a global symbol of cultural activism.
Sheikha Al-Mayassa is the chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority, an organization overseeing the country’s ambitious cultural initiatives. In June 2011, Edward Dolman quit his job as chairman of Christie’s International to join the organization’s board. In February 2012, the group will present Takashi Murakami’s first solo exhibition in the Middle East.
“Sheikha Al-Mayassa has the resources of an entire country at her disposal,” said Benjamin Genocchio, a vice president at Louise Blouin Media and editor-in-chief of Art & Auction.
“They have hired Ed Dolman to be their personal shopper. And the budget has no limit.”
The top 10 list comprises six art collectors, two art dealers and two auction-house executives. They were selected by a four-person jury that included Genocchio and Sotheby’s chairman of North and South America, Lisa Dennison.
The collectors are: billionaire Eli Broad; Dasha Zhukova, partner of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich; French billionaire and Christie’s owner Francois Pinault; Peter Brant, Greenwich, Connecticut-based newsprint magnate; and Indonesian- Chinese agribusiness tycoon Budiardjo Tek.
“Those people are far beyond ‘Oh, I am a private collector and I have a private museum,’” said Genocchio. “They can transform the image of an entire region.”
Art dealer Larry Gagosian, with 11 galleries worldwide, ranks second. David Zwirner, who is beefing up his gallery presence in Manhattan’s Chelsea district with an additional 25,000 square feet, is sixth.
The jury picked Christie’s Asia President Francois Curiel to reflect the region’s increasing significance and Sotheby’s worldwide head of private sales Stephane Cosman Connery to acknowledge growth in that business area, Genocchio said.