Quatar Buys Art

The rulers of Qatar have paid tens of millions of pounds for art works by two of Britain’s best-known modern artists. The al-Thani family, who are trying to build up their art collections in the Gulf state, have bought Francis Bacon’s Study from Portrait of Pope Innocent X for £26m and a Damien Hirst sculpture for just under £10m. The purchases by the al-Thanis, detailed on the website of The Art Newspaper, also included a work by the American artist Mark Rothko for £36m. Qatar is planning a network of museums and galleries. It is being advised by the British Museum and Lord Rothschild, the financier and art expert. Several Gulf states are aiming to build new museums, both to help them compete for western tourists and to promote a more outward-looking image. Plans include branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi. The Qatar family, led by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, has been buying art for several years, but specialised in Islamic or older European art works. The change to buying the likes of Bacon and Rothko is “really exciting”, said John Martin, director of the Dubai-based Gulf Art Fair. “These are, frankly, dream pieces,” he added. “You need to buy the highest order from the top artists if you want international museums.” (For full source and full article click the Headline). Irish Art