Sheikha revealed as the most powerful mover in world art

Emir’s sister tops the ‘ArtReview’ Power 100 thanks to the Qataris spending power

It is said that money buys power, and a Qatari Sheikha has used her nation’s healthy current account to top the annual ranking of the contemporary art world’s most influential figures.

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani topped  ArtReview’s 12th annual “Power 100” yesterday after a string of high-profile purchases and sponsored exhibitions in the tiny emirate. The 30-year-old mother-of-three is the head of Qatar’s museum authority, and recently hit the headlines when she spent £158m on Cézanne’s The Card Players, making it the most expensive painting ever bought at auction.

Sheikha Mayassa is the sister of Qatar’s emir and is thought to control an annual budget of £1bn, which she has used to snap up works by Mark Rothko, Richard Serra, Roy Lichtenstein, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. She is also believed have spent £50m on Picasso’s Child With a Dove last year.

Mark Rappolt, chair of the Power 100 list, said: “In some ways the numbers speak for themselves. No one is buying in the art market like the Qataris. The decision here was fairly universal. It’s not just their buying, it is their international sponsorship of art exhibitions and institutions. Their influence is expanding.”

Sheikha Mayassa is the second woman to top the Power 100 after Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the curator of the Documenta contemporary art exhibition in Kassel, Germany, was named last year’s number one.

Previous powerful figures have ranged from dealers and artists to collectors and curators. Heavy hitters including the legendary American dealer Larry Gagosian and noted collectors such as French businessman François Pinault and advertising mogul Charles Saatchi have all topped the list. In 2011, dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s nomination provoked anger in Beijing.

Sheikha Mayassa was educated at Duke University in North Carolina and worked for Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York before moving into the art world. As head of the Qatar Museums Authority she raised eyebrows after agreeing to buy a 1930s Cartier necklace, set with diamonds and platinum, for £2.1m in November 2011. Along with other extravagant purchases, it led some insiders to claim that her enormous buying power is distorting the market. The purchases are all expected to go on display at several new galleries currently under construction in Doha.

Sheikha Mayassa also bankrolls and sponsors overseas exhibitions, notably Damien Hirst’s retrospective at the Tate in 2012. Hirst’s name is nowhere to be seen on this year’s list; his stock has tumbled.

Three powerful art dealers and gallery owners are high in the rankings: David Zwirner, Iwan Wirth and Larry Gagosian; and the expansion of the Tate has seen the director, Sir Nicholas Serota, move up the list to sixth place, but there was a paucity of Britons among the top 100. “Just as the world economy has been more global, so has the world’s art scene,” Mr Rappolt said.

Splashing out: Her three most notable purchases

The Card Players Paul Cézanne (£158m in 2011)

Qatar joined an exclusive club with the purchase of this post-Impressionist masterpiece for a world-record price. There  are only five paintings in this Cézanne series; one is in the  Metropolitan Museum of Art, another in the Musée d’Orsay.

Lullaby Spring Pill Cabinet Damien Hirst (£14m  in 2007)

The sale of this piece at a Sotheby’s auction in London made Hirst the world’s most bankable living artist, overtaking Jasper Johns and Lucian Freud.

White Center Mark Rothko ($45m in 2007)

Setting a temporary high-water mark for post-war art, this purchase – made anonymously at the time – shocked the art world when it was sold by previous owner David Rockefeller at Sotheby’s in New York.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
This year's Big Brother champion Helen Wood
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Full company in Ustinov's Studio's Bad Jews
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
Music
Arts and Entertainment
Reviews have not been good for Jonathan Liebesman’s take on the much loved eighties cartoon
Film

A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend

Arts and Entertainment
Untwitterably yours: Singer Morrissey has said he doesn't have a twitter account
Music

A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album

Arts and Entertainment
Full throttle: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in God's Pocket
film
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie Minogue is expected to return to Neighbours for thirtieth anniversary special
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment