BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Portrait of Pétur Arason in his Reykjavik exhibition space, 2015. In the background: ", Cubit I - Selected Small Works from the collection of Pétur Arason and Ragna Róbertsdóttir". Curated by Birta Gudjonsdottir. Photo: Sigfús Már Pétursson
Portrait of Pétur Arason in his Reykjavik exhibition space, 2015. In the background: ", Cubit I - Selected Small Works from the collection of Pétur Arason and Ragna Róbertsdóttir". Curated by Birta Gudjonsdottir. Photo: Sigfús Már Pétursson

What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?

My father enjoyed going to artists’ studios, to look at their work and to make conversation. He always took me with him, I was 17 years old when we visited a very well-known Icelandic painter, Kristján Davíðsson, as my father wanted to buy a painting from him and asked me to choose one which he should buy. This was in 1959.

Why do you collect?

Perhaps it is something in my genes, as I was interested in art from very early on. I started to go to museums when I was 12 - 13 years old, and then later I tried to do some paintings and drawings myself but found out very soon that it was not at all promising. Many friends of mine became artists and my wife, Ragna Róbertsdóttir, is an artist and I learnt a lot from her. I started showing art in my company and also I curated a few shows in museums. I collected some works that I had exhibited and slowly it started to become a collection. Living with art and with artists is something I cannot be without.

Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "Cause and Consequence -– Kristján Gudmundsson & Donald Judd”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg – Judd Foundation / – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "Cause and Consequence -– Kristján Gudmundsson & Donald Judd”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg – Judd Foundation / – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "The Light of Day, Magma Works – Lawrence Weiner & Ragna – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017 Róbertsdóttir”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg
Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "The Light of Day, Magma Works – Lawrence Weiner & Ragna – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017 Róbertsdóttir”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg
Reykjavik exhibition space, installation view from "Quality, Quantity – Dieter Roth and a few friends”. Curated by Markus Thór Andrésson. Photo: Sigfús Már Pétursson
Reykjavik exhibition space, installation view from "Quality, Quantity – Dieter Roth and a few friends”. Curated by Markus Thór Andrésson. Photo: Sigfús Már Pétursson

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?

Not really, but I can say that most of my collection would be considered Minimal, Conceptual and Fluxus like.

Who are the artists you are currently following?

Dieter Roth has interested me tremendously for a long time. I think he can be considered one of the major artists of the second half of the last century, if only for the books he made! To name a few others that I have followed for a long time: Lawrence Weiner, Ceal Floyer, Karin Sander, Franz Graf, Alan Johnston, Kristján Guðmundsson, Hreinn Friðfinnsson, Roman Signer. It is always difficult to answer this kind of question, you always forget to mention artists who are dear to you.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artists you collect?

Yes, very much so, for me it is very important. Most of my works in the collection are by artists that I know personally and that are very dear friends. It has always been very important to me to know the artist I am buying from.

Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "Cause and Consequence -– Kristján Gudmundsson & Donald Judd”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg – Judd Foundation / – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "Cause and Consequence -– Kristján Gudmundsson & Donald Judd”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg – Judd Foundation / – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "Notions of Time – Hreinn Fridfinnsson & Roman Signer”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg
Berlin exhibition space, installation view from "Notions of Time – Hreinn Fridfinnsson & Roman Signer”. Curated by Katharina Wendler. Photo: Henrik Strömberg

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?

Perhaps it is the same need as the one of an artist who has to show his work. I think I have some good and important works that people would like to see. I think it is a big problem today that hundreds and thousands of artworks are in storage in museums and collections all over the world, and they will probably never be shown! Should some of it be sold to the public? I think we will hear more discussions about this problem in the near future.

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

One reason why we decided to open an exhibition space in Berlin is the fantastic art landscape in this town, and this includes a number of superb private collections that are publicly accessible. One of my favorites is the Haubrok collection. I simply appreciate most of the artists that they collect; many of them I collect myself. It has always been a pleasure to go there in the past years.

All images courtesy Safn, Berlin / Reykjavík

More Information on safn.is

Collectors (56)

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Rafaela Seppälä

RKF Collection – Helsinki, Finland

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany

Benjamin Genocchio

Fair Director at The Armory Show