“I was hoping, and still am hoping, to meet a few tech collectors,” said Toby Clarke, the director of London’s Vigo Gallery, a few days after Zwick’s visit. “I thought there would be tech squillionaires who would need a bit of guidance, which we’re very good at providing."
“Very often it takes a single figure in a community to become a mentor,” said John Berggruen, whose eponymous gallery sells works by such artists as Ellsworth Kelly and Henri Matisse. He pointed to Thomas Weisel, a prominent San Francisco banker, as an example. "He collected [art], and then a number of his employees became collectors, too," he said.
Berggruen said he has seen the same thing happen in other industries. "One or two people are friends, they become more comfortable buying and more familiar with it, it’s an experience, and they bond," he said. "I don’t know if that’s happened in Silicon Valley yet.”
CEOs of tech companies "definitely buy, but they do it discreetly—they’re not doing it the way that oftentimes New Yorkers do,” she said, pointing to Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and his wife Kaitlyn as examples of under-the-radar collectors. “It’s different even from the L.A. collecting community, which can be more trend-based, and a little bit more showy.”