When regular ol' rich people get bored, they dabble in art. When billionaires get bored, they spend hundreds of millions on that art, collect masterpieces, and endow their own museums. Eli Broad, who sold his start-up insurance company to AIG and currently controls a $6B fortune, is perhaps the West Coast's best known art collector. Founders of the Broad Art Foundation, which lends masterpieces to museums, Broad and his wife Edythe also keep a private collection of more than 500 works, many of them by post-war and contemporary masters. With that sort of pedigree, it's no wonder that the Broads brought in a pair of starchitects to design their two L.A.-area mansions. Frank Gehry was commissioned to produce a design for their primary home in Brentwood (but apparently took too long and thus was passed over), but white-box aficionado Richard Meier actually completed this beach house for the Broads on Malibu's Carbon Beach. Built on a double lot, the austere structure sits atop a rare (and impeccably manicured) grassy lawn and enjoys sweeping views of the Pacific. It was completed in 2001.
? Hedge fund maestro Steven Cohen has plunged much of his fortune into big-name art, including paying an estimated $137.5M for Willem de Kooning's Woman III, the second most expensive painting ever sold. He also has a taste for extravagance in his homes. Cohen, who made $1B in 2005 alone, purchased a 35,000-square-foot mansion in Greenwich, Conn. in 1998 for $14M and has spent more than a decade, and countless millions, "improving" it with a two-hole golf course, an ice hockey rink, a basketball court, and an indoor pool. Even other billionaires are impressed by the place, with one telling Vanity Fair that "his jaw dropped the first time he visited."
? Private equity baron Leon Black set the record for the most ever paid for a painting at auction when he dropped nearly $120M to acquire an example of Edvard Munch's "The Scream." Well accustomed to setting records in that realm—he also bought the most expensive sculpture ever sold and the most expensive drawing—Black keeps an apartment on Park Avenue and country estates in Southampton and Bedford. This is the latter, a 90-acre estate known as Crowfield, where the art is even visible from the air in the form of two massive sculptures by Richard Serra. In 2008, a fire destroyed a "field house" on the property after firefighters were unable to gain access to the estate, but no art seems to have been harmed. Apparently, the building housed the billionaire's indoor tennis courts.
? Ron Lauder, son of cosmetics entrepreneur Estee Lauder, has a fortune of more than $3B and has been an active part of the New York art world for decades, formerly as chairman of the board for the Museum of Modern Art and currently as the founder of, and chief benefactor for, the Neue Gallery. When the cold New York winters hit, Lauder and his wife head down to Palm Beach and relax in this glorious beachfront mansion, just next door to the world-famous Breakers hotel. His brother Leonard owns the adjacent manse, which was once featured in Architectural Digest. Both estates boast putting-green quality front lawns, dotted with palm trees, and private access to the beach.Photos: Travel Abodes
? France's richest man is also the wealthiest on this list of super rich folks. Bernard Arnault, who controls the luxury conglomerate LVMH, has an estimated fortune of more than $40B. When he's not busy getting Frank Gehry to design a museum for the Louis Vuitton foundation's ample art collection, Arnault might be found on his private island in the Bahamas. The 135-acre isle, known as Indigo Island, can be rented by mere mortals, so long as those mortals have $300K to spend on a week's rent.
· The 10 Biggest Art Collectors of 2012 [Business Insider]
· Meier [Triangle Modernist Houses]
· For Steven Cohen, 35,000 Square Feet Isn't Enough [NYT]
· An Art Mystery Solved: Mogul Is 'Scream' Buyer [WSJ]
· Buyout Mogul Suffers Different Kind of Loss [NYT]
· Tropical Glamour for Palm Beach [Architectural Digest]
· Bernard Arnault [Forbes]