“Qatar is interested in Christie’s for three reasons,” Philip Hoffman, chief executive of the London-based Fine Art Fund, said in an interview. “It wants long-term value in the art market, it’s looking to diversify its economy and it’s after advice.”
Controlling Christie’s would enable Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, to enhance its status as a cultural destination. The emir told the Financial Times that the auction house “has links with the stuff we are collecting for our museum.” Formal negotiations have yet to take place, the newspaper report said.
The royal family of Qatar has been an active buyer of selected high-value works of Western modern and contemporary art during the last five years, said Hoffman, a former Christie’s director whose managed funds include those focusing on Middle Eastern artists