Could Have, Would Have, Should Have

Inside the World of the Art Collector

Tiqui Atencio
with illustrations by Pablo Helguera

‘A fascinating insider’s guide to collecting art’ — Jeffrey Deitch, former director, MOCA LA, art dealer and advisor
‘The best book I know on this subject’— Benedikt Taschen, publisher
‘An inspiring summary for new collectors and old’ — Laurence Graff, jeweller and collector
‘Reads beautifully and extremely interesting’ — Bob Colacello, author and special correspondent, Vanity Fair
‘Thoroughly enjoyable’ — Financial Times
‘Tiqui Atencio has amassed a vivid and engrossing collection of collectors for this fun and informative book.’ — Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, collector
‘Unputdownable’ — Lekha Poddar, co-founder, Devi Art Foundation, Delhi
‘Tiqui Atencio … is a sage observer of the art world, and as this book demonstrates, possesses both acute vision and admirable empathy.’ — Richard Armstrong, director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

What does it take to be a serious art collector? What drives someone to go after a particular work regardless of the cost? What form of addiction or compulsion causes an individual to devote vast amounts of time, money and emotional energy in pursuit of something that is unobtainable to most people? Tiqui Atencio has been collecting since she was eighteen years old. Decades later, she is one of the most prominent collectors of contemporary art, on the boards of international museums and art-world power lists. For Could Have, Would Have, Should Have, she has interviewed almost one hundred of the world’s most influential collectors – from financiers to artists – and asked them to tell their own story of how they started to collect and what continues to motivate them.

In chapters such as ‘Ways of collecting’, ‘Dealing with dealers’, ‘Living with art’, ‘But it doesn’t fit!’ and ‘What was I thinking?’, they reveal their highs and lows, the successes and regrets, the shared passions and intense rivalries, the works that got away … and the ones that perhaps should have done. Their anecdotes and recollections reveal the many practical and emotional aspects of collecting art, all the unexpected pleasures and challenges. What emerges is a frank and honest, surprising and eye-opening, and at times hilarious account of a lifelong dedication that is described by some as a heroic commitment and by others as a crazy sickness. Cartoons by celebrated artist and satirist Pablo Helguera complement the entertaining text and provide an alternative view onto the world of collectors and collecting.

Tiqui Atencio is a prominent collector of Latin American, pre-Columbian, and modern and contemporary art. She was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, and studied in Italy, the United States and France. Between 1998 and 2004, she was on the advisory board of the Art Institutes International. Since 2005, she has been an ex-officio trustee of the Guggenheim Museum and is chair of the museum’s International Director’s Council. In 2003, she founded Tate’s Latin American Acquisition Committee and has been its chair since then. She is also a member of the museum’s International Executive Committee and an ex-officio trustee of Tate America’s Foundation. She is on the board of advisors of Art at Auction magazine and performed the same role for the UBS Art Collection. She is a member of the Société des Amis du Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and of the Monaco Projects for the Arts.

Pablo Helguera is a visual and performance artist living in New York. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Artoons, Education for Socially Engaged Art and The Parable Conference.

Interviewees: Basma Al Sulaiman; Ann and Steven Ames; Prince Pierre d’Arenberg; Richard Armstrong; Ara Arslanian; Monique Barbier-Mueller; Bill Bell Jr; Poonam Bhagat; Ivor Braka; Irma and Norman Braman; Peter Brant; Eli Broad; Estrellita Brodsky; Clarissa Bronfman; Trudy and Paul Cejas; Adrian Cheng; Michael Chow; Bob Colacello; Halit Cıngıllıoglu; Kemal Cıngıllıoglu; George Condo; Dimitris Daskalopoulos; Hélène David-Weill; Jeffrey Deitch; Ago Demirdjian; Beth Rudin DeWoody; Negar and Kamran Diba; Ulla Dreyfus-Best; Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson; Sevda Elgiz; Kim Esteve; Wendy Fisher; Lady Elena Foster; Glenn Fuhrman; Laurence Graff; Agnes Gund; Terry de Gunzburg; James Hedges IV; J. Tomilson Hill; Damien Hirst; Maja Hoffmann; Jane Holzer; Dakis Joannou; Pearl Lam; Rachel Lehmann; Dominique and Sylvain Levy; Karen Levy; Adam Lindemann; Fatima and Eskandar Maleki; Jean-Claude and Nicole Marian; Nada and Taha Mikati; Lady Alison Myners; David Nahmad; Helly Nahmad; Gwen and Peter Norton; Anthony d’Offay; Paulina Palacios Leroy; Sagrario Pérez Soto de Atencio; Catherine Petitgas; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; Jean Pigozzi; Lekha Poddar; Eugenio Re Rebaudengo; Almine Rech; Ursula von Rydingsvard; Rolf Sachs; Muriel and Freddy Salem; Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo; Denise Saul; Kenny Schachter; Uli Sigg; Jennifer Blei Stockman; Norah and Norman Stone; Mercedes Stoutzker; Benedikt Taschen; David Teiger; Samir Traboulsi; Igor Tsukanov; Axel Vervoordt; Paulo Vieira; Angela Westwater and David Meitus; Andrea Wild Botero; Juan Yarur; Neda Young; Anita Zabludowicz; and other collectors who chose to remain anonymous.