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Christie’s CEO Murphy, Gagosian, Eli Broad Make Top 10

The cover of the December 2012 issue of Art+Auction Magazine. Christie's CEO Steven Murphy leads the top-10 list. Source: Louise Blouin Media via Bloomberg
The cover of the December 2012 issue of Art+Auction Magazine. Christie's CEO Steven Murphy leads the top-10 list. Source: Louise Blouin Media via Bloomberg

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Christie’s chief executive officer Steven Murphy is the most powerful person in the art world, according to Art & Auction’s 2012 top-10 list.

“My hero is Keith Richards,” said Murphy in an interview. “We and the Rolling Stones are still doing it. Only Christie’s has been doing it longer.”

Owing to his technological savvy, Murphy, who joined the 246-year-old auction house in 2010, unseated Sheikha Al-Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, daughter of the Emir of Qatar and chair of the Qatar Museums Authority, who occupied the spot in 2011.

The 10th annual Power 100 issue is published by New York-based Louise Blouin Media. The magazine will be launched at a private party today at the Haven Lounge in Miami, ahead of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair opening to VIPs tomorrow.

“Steven’s investments transformed Christie’s,” said Benjamin Genochio, editor-in-chief of Art & Auction, in an interview. “In the past 12-18 months, Christie’s has eclipsed Sotheby’s as the most important auction house.”

Christie’s built up its private sales and online platforms to attract younger global collectors. “It was clear that our clients were living half of their lives online,” explained Murphy.

Power Dealers

No artists made it into the top 10, as usual, but there are five dealers: ranked third is Larry Gagosian, who opened his 12th space at the Le Bourget airport outside Paris and has suggested possible venues in Hong Kong, London and Brazil.

Other dealers in the top 10: David Zwirner, Marc Glimcher, Christian Deydier and Emmanuel Perrotin, all of whom are going more global. “There is a trend of consolidation of power,” said Genocchio.

Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad is the sole collector this year; he occupies the 10th position, down from third last year.

Kevin Ching, chief executive officer of Sotheby’s Asia, led the auction house’s push into mainland China, creating a joint venture with state-owned Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Groups. He ranked fifth on the list.

To select the most powerful players, the magazine asked for recommendations from some 50 art world professionals around the globe, winnowing the numbers down to the top 100, of which only the top 10 are ranked.

The most significant players were chosen by a jury of three: Genocchio, Bloomberg’s art market reporter Scott Reyburn and David Resnicow, the founder of public relations firm Resnicow Schroeder.

Keep your eye on Cecilia Alemani, who made her first appearance on the Power to Watch list for her work at MoMA PS1, Frieze New York and the High Line.

The top 10 players are:
1. Steven Murphy
2. Sheikha Al-Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani
3. Larry Gagosian
4. Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp
5. Kevin Ching
6. Marc Glimcher
7. David Zwirner
8. Christian Deydier
9. Emmanuel Perrotin
10. Eli Broad

To contact the reporters of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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