Sotheby’s announced stellar results in August for single-owner auctions in the first half of 2018. In May, the collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel raised $107.9m with a 100% sell through. The American entrepreneur and his wife had assembled a collection representing important artistic movements of the 20th century.

At Christie’s, the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, comprising of about 1,500 objects spanning art, furniture and a variety of collectables, achieved a staggering $832.6m — the highest price realised for a single-owner collection.

It nearly doubled the previous record held by the collection of Yves St Laurent and Pierre Bergé, which sold for $443m in 2009.

While art collectors usually do not achieve the same level of attention as the artists and their dealers, their influence cannot be underestimated. Visionary art collectors shape art history by enabling their favourite artists, and play an important role in endorsing new talents and artistic movements.

Many artists develop their careers because of financial backing from collectors. Who knows whether Pablo Picasso would have achieved the same level of success without the unflinching support of writer Gertrude Stein?

Dealers have long understood the power of the inspired collector who displays acumen and taste. Dr Maurice Girardin, who died in Paris in 1954, commanded much respect as a collector. Read more