Qatari Princess Brings Home Bacon
The buyer of the Francis Bacon triptych at Christie’s for a record $142 million was shrouded in secrecy — but has been exclusively revealed to be Qatar’s Sheikha Mayassa, the most powerful woman in art.
Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are astounded at her immense art buying power.
“Three Studies of Lucian Freud” made history as the most expensive artwork ever to be sold at auction. It was purchased by New York’s respected Acquavella Gallery on behalf of a client who numerous sources tell us is the sheikha — official title, Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
While she is just 30, the sheikha, daughter of the former emir of Qatar and sister of the current emir, is said to control billions of dollars that the royal family wants to spend on art to display in museums it is building.
The Qatari royal family is spending more than $100 billion as it prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The sheikha heads the Qatar Museums Authority, and her role is to turn the oil-rich nation into a cultural powerhouse. The jewel in QMA’s crown will be a national museum, designed by Jean Nouvel, to open in 2016.
Last month the sheikha was named the most powerful person in art by the ArtReview Power 100, an annual ranking of all the most important collectors, dealers, curators and artists. She was placed ahead of powerful American dealers David Zwirner, Iwan Wirth and Larry Gagosian, who had bid $101 million on the Bacon.
The sheikha was also the reported buyer of a Mark Rothko, a Francis Bacon and a Damien Hirst recently auctioned at Sotheby’s for more than $160 million.
Her family spent a record $158 million for Paul Cezanne’s “Card Players” last year and a reported $310 million for 11 Rothkos.
She graduated from Duke in 2005 and took an internship at Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Productions, where she kept her royal identity under wraps. After she returned home, she revealed herself and successfully negotiated to bring the film festival to Doha.
A rep for Acquavella declined to comment, and calls to the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, DC, were not returned last night.