Pills are placed into the Damien Hirst artwork Lullaby Spring which has been bought by the Qatari royal family. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The tiny emirate of Qatar has become the world’s biggest art buyer after a massive spending spree by the royal family to enhance its cultural portfolio before the 2022 World Cup. Research by the Art Newspaper has revealed that Qatar has been responsible for the bulk of contemporary and modern art purchases over the past six years, including work by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko.

Last month the chairman of Christie’s, Edward Dolman, resigned from the auction house to become an adviser to Qatar’s museum authority. He will handle acquisitions for new museums including the National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel, due to open in 2014. “Qatar is looking to deliver a series of exciting cultural projects in time for the World Cup in 2022,” Dolman told the Art Newspaper.


Sara Elkamel