May 8th, 2007
The passion of the art collector
Collecting is a passion and -or- the compensation of a lack, like Sigmund Freud says. Which lack it is will be a sheltered secret of every collector. Except the coldish, calculated collector who always takes a side look to the art market and the upgrading of the possessed art work. There are collectors who really collect art as a pleasure of collecting and who are neutral to whether an art work is a financial investment. Their purchases are intuitive and some of the collectors make the collecting of art their purpose in life. But there are some more causes to buy art. According to Christina Karasek´s book: “Make artists? Aspects of the art-market.” there are six reasons:
1. financial interest
2. decorative needs
3. show a group membership
4. aesthetic experience
5. experience different views of life
6. art sponsorship
John Issacs. Thinking about it. 2002.
Like every categorization, this is only a model and most of the time there are several reasons to buy art work. However this listing is interesting and significant. The listing offers a valuation of art collecting. Whereas the collector who is driven by financial interests ranks as a low ethos collector, the pure sponsoring collector is the noble one. And the collector, who collects because he wants to experience different world views is more likely to buy rather young and nameless artists and becomes – in some cases – a patron.
We met one collector and his collection, who is one of the most important in Germany in the Essen Folkwang Museum.
The names of the artists he collects are famous worldwide: Albrecht Dürer, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Takashi Murakami, Thomas Ruff, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Andreas Gursky, Diane Arbus and newcomers from the New Leipzig School like Matthias Weischer. The owner of this collection is Prof. Dr. Dr. (medicine and chemistry) Thomas Olbricht, who curated this exhibition by himself.
He developed his passion of collecting very early on in his life. As a child he flicked through the international mail of his father and took off the stamps. Later, as a medicine student he tried to create art and started to collect art. He continuously enlarged his collection meanwhile he was working as a doctor. When he had already been a professor for endocrinology in Essen and his private house held huge art treasuries, by ´discovering´ Gerhard Richter he became interested in contemporary art. Since he has sold his shares of the family owned corporation WELLA in the new millennium he is in the lucky situation to rule about an adequate budget and devotes himself exclusively to deal with his art collection. His collection became so famous that the management of it requires his full time attendance. For Olbricht art is not a financial strategy, not an investment, although the value of his possessions grew enormously. But that was never his focus. Olbricht is much more a collector for aesthetic and experimental reasons. A collector of his kind is rather interested in growing as a human being. Maybe, he wants to approach ´truth´ a little closer. In either case he is willing to look at the world from different perspectives and always questioning the overwhelming media influences presenting so called hard facts. He is curious, he is questing, he is searching; an adventurer on the journey through life.
Translation: Christian E. Klinger, Katja Kirsche
Joseph Beuys. Girl. 1948.
Index of the shown artists:
Diane Arbus, Gabriel Argy-Rousseau, John M. Armleder, Janis Avotins, Stephan Balkenhol, Chinastu Ban, Hernan Bas, Fra Matteo Bavera, Joseph Beuys, Glenn Brown, Jonas Burgert, Harry Callahan, Maurizio Cattelan, Jake und Dinos Chapman, George Condo, William N. Copley, John Currin, Georganne Deen, Wim Delvoye, Mark Dion, Peter Doig, Christoph Draeger, Reynolds Reynolds, Gary Breslin, Wang Du, Marlene Dumas, Caroll Dunham, Albrecht Dürer, Marcel Dzama, Neil Farber, Adam Eck, Paul Egell, Michael Elmgreen, Ingar Dragset, Cerith Wyn Evans, Liu Fei, Eric Fischl, Sylvie Fleury, Katharina Fritsch, Franz Gertsch, Jakob Gierke, Kuno Gonschior, Andreas Gursky, Katrin Heichel, Jeppe Hein, Herman Henstenburgh, Damien Hirst, John Issacs, Zhang Jian, Chantal Joffe, Johanna Karlsson, Alex Katz, David Korty, Makiko Kudo, Robert Kusmirowski, Sherrie Levine, Liza Lou, Roseline Luduvico, Konrad Lueg, Marcin Maciejowski, Robert Mapplethorpe, Teresa Margolles, Joseph Marioni, Lisette Model, sarah Morris, MR., Ron Mueck, Juan Munoz, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Hiroshi Sugito, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, David Nicholson, Tim Noble, Sue Webster, Jacco Oliver, Paul Outerbridge jr., Blinky Palermo, Evan Penny, Grayson Perry, Elizabeth Peyton, Richard Phillips, Jack Pierson, Sigmar Polke, Frans Porbous d. Ä., Richard Prince, Ged Quinn, Daniel Richter, Gerhard Richter, Alexis Rockman, Terry Rodgers, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Lisa Ruyter, Tom Sachs, David Salle, Thomas Scheibitz, Moritz Schleime, Gregor Schneider, Thomas Schütte, Dana Schutz, Norbert Schwontkowski, Andres Serrano, George Shaw, Cindy Sherman, Dirk Skreber, Andreas Slominski, Kiki Smith, Otto Steinert, Hiroshi Sugito, Ena Swansea, Zhou Tiehai, Hans Tucher, Not Vital, Almaric V. Walter, Andy Warhol, Matthias Weischer, Paloma Varga Weisz, John Wesley, James White, Anton Woensam von Worms, Jan Worst, Liu Ye, Stephan Zick, Qi Zhilong.