Step across the threshold at many a Rich Lister’s mansion and you will find yourself in a gallery reflecting the owner’s interests. The racehorse breeder John Magnier collects equestrian paintings by Sir Alfred Munnings, a master of the genre, while the rock star Bono has several pieces by the pop artist Joe Black, known for his monumental pixellated portraits.
The wealthy are not just buying what takes their fancy; they are investing. Adam Clayton, Bono’s U2 bandmate, picked up an early Jean-Michel Basquiat self-portrait for a few thousand dollars while recording in New York in 1990. By the time he sold it at Christie’s 27 years later, Basquiat was salesroom gold and the picture fetched €2.53m.
That gain pales beside one of Magnier’s biggest