THE TOP FIVE
Sir Nicholas Serota, 62 TATE, DIRECTOR With charm, political nous and nerves of steel, Sir Nicholas, the son of Labour peer and minister Baroness Serota, has consolidated his position as the eminence grise of the London art world. Revised plans for the new Tate Modern extension have assuaged critics though he still faces a tough time fund-raising. He needs to jockey for position now that the National Gallery has declared an interest in post-1900 art (think Picasso).
Charles Saatchi, 65 COLLECTOR Britains most famous contemporary collector is re-entering the big time with the unveiling of his major new gallery in Chelsea, having relocated from the former County Hall. The Baghdad-born advertising guru has been a key player in the art market since starting to buy nearly 40 years ago and, most significantly, drove interest in the Young British Artists of the Nineties. Publicity-shy, he leaves third wife Nigella Lawson to be the glamorous front-woman of his artistic ventures.
Damien Hirst, 43 ARTIST The most famous and richest of the Young British Artists,Hirst continues to dazzle, following his diamond-encrusted skull with his recent audacious and wildly successful ?111m auction at Sothebys.He remains an enthusiastic buyer and is still restoring the Grade I-listed Toddington Manor near Cheltenham to house his collection.He is loud-mouthed and controversial but generous to charity and the Tate, to whom he gave four key works.
Neil MacGregor, 62 BRITISH MUSEUM, DIRECTOR Ever more influential, the respected Glasgow-born museum head has added global diplomacy to his brief this year at the behest of the British government. His ambassadorial role fits nicely with his proclaimed mission statement of holding the museums collections in trust for the world.With exhibitions such as the First Emperor Hadrian: Empire and Conflict he has helped attract record numbers to the British Museum, turning it into the UKs top cultural attraction.
Erica Bolton, 49, and Jane Quinn, 49 BOLTON AND QUINN, SENIOR PARTNERS Powerful PR duo who formed their successful partnership in 1981.With clients including the Tate, Somerset House and the Serpentine as well as figures such as the architect Zaha Hadid, their influence and reach is enormous. Ever helpful and invariably efficient, it is unsurprising their services are so strongly in demand. Bolton studied history of fine art at the Courtauld and Quinn fine art before moving into arts management
Amanda Sharp, 40, and Matthew Slotover, 39 FRIEZE, FOUNDERS Within six years of launching the Frieze Contemporary Art Fair in Regents Park it is now a must-do fixture on the international art circuit.More than 68,000 visitors attended last years event, which boasted the worlds top commercial galleries.Oxford University pals Sharp and Slotover first made their mark by establishing Frieze Magazine in 1991, only a couple of years after graduation.
Jay Jopling, 45 WHITE CUBE GALLERY, OWNER The tall Old Etonian, son of former Tory chief whip Michael Jopling, is still one of the more reserved of London dealers. But palpable triumphs such as the coup de theatre of Damien Hirsts ?50m diamond-encrusted skull have made him chattier than in times past. His rollcall of artists Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley,Marc Quinn remains impressive. Has just split from artist wife Sam Taylor-Wood.
Lucian Freud, 85 ARTIST Sigmund Freuds German-born grandson is still painting and partying, despite his age. Publicity-shy but no recluse, he emerges for those events that interest him including a party by Christies in his honour. His 1995 painting, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, set a new record and briefly made Freud the worlds most expensive living artist when it sold for ?17.25m in May.
Charles Saumarez Smith, 54 ROYAL ACADEMY, CEO The amiable former head of the National Gallery and occasional Newsnight Review guest has shown a firm hand since moving to the RA. …