Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani & Sheikh Saud bin Muhammad bin Ali Al-Thani

Collectors, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani is chair of the Qatar Museums Authority

Qatar currently acquires more modern and contemporary art than any other country in the world, thanks to the ruling Al-Thani family’s hyperactive buying. Sheikh Saud bin Muhammad bin Ali Al-Thani has spent more money on art (several hundred million dollars, reputedly) than any other collector in the world over the past two years, and his relative Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, also a major collecting force, is chair of the Qatar Museums Authority (Christie’s chairman Edward Dolman recently left the auction house to run her office there as well as join the QMA’s board).

The family’s name crops up in relation to several international projects, including joint exhibitions with the Prada Foundation and bankrolling the Murakami exhibition at Versailles last autumn. There’s much being commissioned at home, too, with projects from Richard Serra and Jeff Koons in the pipeline (so to speak), art museums to be built and an identity as the Gulf’s most important cultural destination to be forged in time for the World Cup, which Qatar will be hosting in 2022.