Axel Vervoordt on Collecting with Vision

October 1, 2018
Installation view of  Artempo at Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2007. © Jean-Pierre Gabriel
Installation view of Artempo at Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2007. © Jean-Pierre Gabriel

Axel Vervoordt remains one of the world's leading collectors. He is also a tastemaker and widely respected curator of exceptional art and objects. In this interview with Sotheby's, he discusses his passion for art and objects and his ambitious museum projects. Here are few words of wisdom from Vervoordt: 


Finding inspiration through art and curating exhibitions at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, Italy. 

Together with Director Daniela Ferretti we have made a series of six fabulous exhibitions in Palazzo Fortuny exploring the transversal links between philosophy, science, music, history, creative heritage and art. Every exhibition was born out of think tanks held with scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, architects and musicians.

Sculptures and contemporary art from the exhibition 'TRA. The Edge of Becoming' at Palazzo Fortuny, 2011.


The changing landscape of the art market.

The world is becoming smaller. People are travelling a lot and the art world is also becoming more and more transparent. You can find many provenances and prices of art pieces on internet, so as dealers we need to be aware of this and respond to that. The dealer has become a trusted advisor and tastemaker who needs to be open about the evolving art market towards his clients.


Pablo Palazuelo © Jean-Pierre Gabriel


On cross-collecting - mixing different styles and historical periods in one interior space. 

I’ve always lived among the artworks and objects and juxtaposed them in my house so that they form an interesting dialogue, which is enriching in many ways.

Advice to new collectors.

Collect with your intuition — your gut feeling. Afterwards, you can study it more in detail and ask for advice to connoisseurs. My advice is to keep your eyes open. Go to a lot of exhibitions, museums and churches. I was as much attracted by antiques as by contemporary art. I like art that is positive and that gives you a broader way of thinking; universal art that gives a solution to the evolution of our society. Old art that speaks to contemporary art, and contemporary art that creates space and silence.

Installation view of the exhibition 'Henro I', collection of the Axel and May Vervoordt Foundation.