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Top 200 Collectors

Catherine Lagrange

Catherine Lagrange



Contemporary art; Postwar art


Catherine Lagrange has built her collection slowly over decades that is first and foremost “driven by instinct and curiosity,” she told ARTnews. That leads her to reflect on “what has drawn me to a particular piece in the first place. I try to imagine what conversations it could have with other pieces in my collection.”

Though she didn’t start out with “an overarching thesis behind my acquisitions,” she recently realized a throughline had emerged in what she had purchased over the years. “One tendency that has developed within the collection has been a strong focus on sculpture,” she told ARTnews. “Sculpture is an interesting area of the market because you can buy works of extraordinary quality with much less of the hype and competition that surround painting.”

Among the artists who make up those rich sculptural holdings are historical figures like Jean Fautrier, Lucio Fontana, Alina Szapocznikow, and Donald Judd to some of today’s most closely watched artists working the medium like Andra Ursuța, Rosemarie Trockel, Kathleen Ryan, Jean-Luc Moulène, and Carol Bove.

At the moment, she said she wants to continue to grow the collection, both by adding new artists and collecting artists already represented in her holdings in greater depth. “I’m now at a stage where I want to be proactive as much as reactive, and would like to further develop this interest in objects,” she said.

But that won’t stop her from branching out from the confines of sculpture. “I always remain open to acquiring things that I simply love (such as finding the right Albert Oehlen),” she said. And a cornerstone of her collection, after all is René Magritte’s 1927 painting Le Musée d’une nuit; she owns several works by the Surrealist, whom she said is “an artist who remains as contemporary today as he was a hundred years ago.”

A recent acquisition was a suite of self-portraits by Ana Mendieta from 1973. “It is a tough work to look at, and for many people probably even tougher to live with,” she said. “But I found its defiance extraordinarily beautiful, and surprised myself with an instinctive need to own it. It made me realize how essential art has become to my life and provokes a great deal of conversation at the dinner table.”

Lagrange was also a supporter of Francis Alÿs’s Belgian Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale; she also loaned two works to the Biennale’s main exhibition, which she called “a lovely moment for me.” She continued, “I’m most proud of the moments in which I took risks and bought something I could never have imagined owning ten years earlier. It’s a bit like a marker of my own development. That’s the challenge of building a collection that feels interesting and true to oneself.”  

Catherine Lagrange was listed on the Top 200 in 2010 and 2011 alongside her former husband, Pierre Lagrange.