Qatari Sheikha tops 2013 art power list

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Sheikha Al-Mayassa is the sister of Qatar's emir

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The female head of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) has been named the most powerful figure in the art world.

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani came top of ArtReview magazine's annual Power 100 due to "her organisation's vast purchasing power".

Sheikha Al-Mayassa first appeared on the Power 100 in 2011 at number 90, rising to number 11 in 2012.

China's Ai Weiwei, who topped the countdown in 2011, is the highest-placed artist at number nine.

Quite what Sheikha Al-Mayassa is planning to do with the trophy western art works she is buying is anyone's guess.

Are they for private enjoyment, or perhaps to form the basis of a collection for a new museum of modern art to open in time for the 2022 World Cup?

Other familiar names in the top 10 include art dealer Larry Gagosian, ranked at four, and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota, placed at six.

The latter was made a Companion of Honour by Prince Charles on Wednesday at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his services to art.

Sheikha Al-Mayassa is the sister of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who assumed the role of Qatar's emir when his father abdicated in June.

According to ArtReview, the QMA spends around $1bn a year (£618m) developing galleries, sponsoring film festivals and supporting public art.

It also sponsored Tate Modern's Damien Hirst exhibition, which attracted more than 463,000 visitors during its run last year.


  • 2011 - The Card Players - Paul Cezanne - £158m
  • 2007 - White Center - Mark Rothko - £45m
  • 2007 - Lullaby Spring Pill Cabinet - Damien Hirst - £14m

Last year's Power 100 was also topped by a woman - Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the curator of the influential Documenta 13 exhibition in Kassel, Germany.

David Zwirner, who owns galleries in London and New York, is in second place in this year's rundown, while his former business partner Iwan Wirth is ranked at three.

Sir Nicholas comes just behind Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones, the co-creators of the Serpentine galleries in London.

Compiled by a 13-member international jury, the Power 100 is described as "a unique snapshot of the contemporary art scene".

According to the contemporary art magazine, those included are "judged on their international influence over the production of art and contribution to the art world during the past 12 months".

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