Earlier this week, news broke that Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, one of the art world’s most deep-pocketed power couples, plan to separate after 10 years of marriage.
The divorce between Abramovich, 50, who the owns the Chelsea soccer team and is worth an estimated $9 billion, and Zhukova, 36, who sits on a bevy of museum boards and is an early investor in Artsy, could be Britain’s most expensive split ever. Together, the couple founded the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, and have played no small role in reinvigorating the city’s contemporary art scene.
In a statement confirming the split, the pair said they would continue to work together on joint projects. While rumors continue to fly about what caused the breakup (and the true fate of their many cultural initiatives remains unclear), we have compiled a capsule history of the notoriously press-shy couple’s rise to art-world prominence.
2005: The pair reportedly meets at a New Year’s Eve soirée thrown by Zhukova’s father, the Russian oil magnate Alexander Zhukov. Around this time, Abramovich—who has historically been more partial to fast cars and big boats than fine art—also dips his toes into the world of cultural philanthropy, supporting an exhibition of Russian pictorial photography at London’s Somerset House. read more