Roman Abramovich and ex-wife Dasha Zhukova amassed a 'stupendous' art collection worth almost $1 billion, leaked documents reveal

  • Roman Abramovich and his ex-wife have an art collection worth close to $1 billion, leaked documents revealed.

  • Works by Freud, Hockney, and Picasso are among the 367 items in the collection, The Guardian reported.

  • Before oligarchs' assets were seized by the UK last year, Zhukova took majority control of the collection.

Russian businessman Roman Abramovich and his ex-wife, Dasha Zhukova, have amassed an art collection of 367 works worth almost $1 billion, an investigation by The Guardian and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has revealed.

Leaked files obtained from a Cyprus-based financial services provider called MeritServus that were analyzed by The Guardian and OCCRP revealed the extent of the world's most impressive private art collections.

The collection is managed by a company called Seline-Invest, which is in turn owned by Abramovich's trust, the Ermis Trust Settlement, according to the investigation.

The collection is worth an estimated $963 million and includes works by some of the greatest modern artists including Picasso, Monet, Freud, and Hockney.

"You could fill a museum with it – this is a stupendous collection," Goldsmiths, University of London curation professor Andrew Renton told The Guardian.

Masterpieces like Francis Bacon's "Triptychs, 1976" cost the couple $86.3 million, the highest price paid at auction for a post-war work, per The Art Newspaper.

Abramovich and Zhukova, who married in 2008 and separated in 2017, amassed the artworks over a decade during which they became prominent figures in the art world. The collection was stored in south London, with items occasionally lent to galleries under the anonymous label of "private collector," The Guardian reported.

Christies' employees hang Lucian Freud's painting 'Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995' on April 11, 2008 in London, England. The life-size 'Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995' painting shows a naked Sue Tilley from London and is estimated to fetch between 25 to 35 million USD which would make it the most expensive auctioned artwork.
The couple bought Lucian Freud's painting "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995" for $86 million.Cate Gillon

The investigation also uncovered that Abramovich made moves to protect the collection from asset seizures against Russian oligarchs in the weeks before Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The couple previously held a half-share of the collection, but the documents showed that Zhukova took a 51% share on 4 February 2022.

The restructuring enabled Abramavich to maintain possession of the collection, as only assets that were majority-owned by a sanctioned individual were subject to seizure.

Zhukova is a darling of the global art scene and is on the boards of several famous galleries. Through her second marriage she is now a US citizen and exempt from any sanctions. She has condemned Putin's "acts of war," per The Guardian.

Abramovich yacht
Abramovich's $700 million yacht was seized following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.Filip Filipovic

Abramovich was among seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the UK in March last year. His assets, including Chelsea soccer club, were frozen and his $700 million superyacht, on which pieces from the art collection are believed to be displayed, was seized.

He is also blocked from doing business in Britain or entering the UK.

The leaked files only date back to 2022, leaving the current location of the collection unclear.

Representatives for Abramovich and Zhukova did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider. Both declined to comment to The Guardian.

Meritservus has been sanctioned by the UK Government.

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