Oligarch Roman Abramovich and his ex-wife Dasha Zhukova’s billion-dollar art collection contains some of the best examples of Contemporary and Modern British Art. It rivals the vast Tate Gallery for late 20th and early 21st century examples.
As with many private collections, it is held in a secure warehouse (according to the Guardian, this one’s in Vauxhall). It will not be loaned as long as the war continues in Ukraine for fear of confiscation. The art is held by a trust favouring Zhukova and is part of the settlement obtained in this very public divorce. Like many high-profile art collectors, privacy and anonymity were factors when dealing with the team of international art consultants involved with their many acquisitions over a decade-long shopping spree.
Their collection has been exhibited worldwide in various art institutions and galleries. Additionally, Dasha Zhukova’s involvement as founder of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow provided a platform for displaying contemporary art, including their collection.
Abramovich was denied a UK passport, had to sell his beloved Chelsea Football Club and was denied leave to stay in the UK. He remains a trusted friend of Vladamir Putin and a citizen of Russia, Israel and Portugal. Zhukova, a US and Russian citizen has come out against the invasion of Ukraine and has halted the exhibition programme at The Garage in Moscow.
While the exact details of their collection are kept under wraps, many secrets were revealed in the Oligarch Files, leaked from the Cyprus-based off-shore financial services provider MeritServus. It was scrutinised in collaboration with the OCCRP and other international media partners. It includes documentation of several artworks of various periods and styles.
Some of the artists whose works are reportedly part of this significant collection include:
Lucian Freud: ‘Benefits Supervisor Sleeping’ is an iconic portrait which utilises Freud’s intense and psychologically charged portraits, which are highly sought after by collectors and Museums. The National Gallery exhibited this painting in October 2022. See Photo Above
Paula Rego: ‘The Policeman’s Daughter’ Tate Britain included this painting in Rego’s recent retrospective.
David Hockney: Beverly Hills Housewife
Francis Bacon: ‘Triptych 1976’:Renowned for his emotionally charged, figurative paintings, Bacon’s works often explore themes of isolation and suffering. (Below)
Contemporary Works By: Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Jasper Johns, Frank Auerbach and Leon Kosso are also in the collection.
Picassos: La Liseuse, along with works by Matisse, Modigliani, Mondrian and Kandinsky, hanging in their South Of France Villa.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Basquiat’s graffiti-influenced art explores race, identity, and social commentary themes.
Yayoi Kusama: The Japanese artist’s signature polka dots and immersive installations have gained international acclaim.
Damien Hirst: Hirst’s controversial art often explores themes of life and death through unconventional materials and concepts.
Tracey Emin: Known for her provocative and confessional art, Emin’s work often delves into personal experiences and emotions.
Other contemporary artists Include
Jeff Koons: Koons is famous for his playful and monumental sculptures, often referencing popular culture.
Andy Warhol: A pop art icon, Warhol’s works often featured mass-produced objects and celebrities, reflecting the consumer culture of his time.
Willem de Kooning: Known for his abstract expressionist works, de Kooning’s paintings are celebrated for their dynamic and gestural style.
Russian works include: Kazimir Malevich and Natalia Goncharova.
To make this article just a bit creepier, Rupert Murdoch’s new girlfriend is Elena Zhukova — a scientist who used to be the mother-in-law to oligarch Roman Abramovich….
Photo: Courtesy The Garage Museum Of Contemporary Art