BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz, 2019. Photo: Maurício Froldi
João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz, 2019. Photo: Maurício Froldi

How important is having the title of “collector” to you?

It is not so important. The most important thing for me is the Institute I built, which creates the possibilty for access to contemporary art for students and the public of all ages the through our Education Program. I have an affective relationship with the artworks I collect, and each one of them has a different story or reason to be in the collection. Since the early 80’s when I bought the first works, I’m close to the artists, art critics and galleries - I follow their careers and keep buying works that I believe are relevant for the collection. In this case, rather than a collector, I consider myself an art affectionate.

Works from the collection, 2018 (installation view). Photo: Maurício Froldi
Works from the collection, 2018 (installation view). Photo: Maurício Froldi
Installation view 2018 with works by Marcus Vinicius. Photo: Maurício Froldi
Installation view 2018 with works by Marcus Vinicius. Photo: Maurício Froldi

Does your collection follow a specific theme or particular artists?

The collection consists mostly of Brazilian contemporary art, with works ranging from the late 70’s up until the present. There is a large range of artists, since I try to follow the art production monthly, seeking works that can enrich the collection, regardless of the artist's age or being known or unknown. Most of the time it is a risk, but it works for me because I’m not interested in the economic value of the pieces.

We have works by artists that started their careers in the 60’s such as Waltércio Caldas, Tunga, Cildo Meireles, Regina Silveira and Nelson Leirner. Artists from the 80’s generation include Jorge Guinle, Leonilson, Casa 7 group and Paulo Pasta and from the 90’s there is Adriana Varejão. There is installations by Marcius Galan and duo Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima. Of young artists, positions include such as Ana Sario, Mauro Piva, Marcus Vinicus… Today we have over one thousand works, of paintings, installations, sculptures, videos, photographs and works on paper.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artists you collect?

Yes, I know almost all of the artists I collect and I follow their careers. For instance, I have works by Nuno Ramos, Fabio Miguez, Dudi Maia Rosa, Paulo Pasta and many others from the last three decades. Many of them become close friends. The same happens with gallerists such as Luisa Strina, Raquel Arnaud, Eduardo Leme, Eduardo Brandão and many others.

Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima, Zero hidrográfico, 2010 (installation view). Photo: Maurício Froldi
Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima, Zero hidrográfico, 2010 (installation view). Photo: Maurício Froldi
Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima, Relâmpago, 2015 (nstallation view). Photo: Maurício Froldi
Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima, Relâmpago, 2015 (nstallation view). Photo: Maurício Froldi

Is there an artwork that you love but can’t live with due to size, medium, or value?

No, all the artworks are important for me. Each one of them is special, no matter size or importance of the artist.

In your opinion, what mistakes do young collectors commonly make? And what mistakes did you make when first starting on your collecting journey?

Collecting contemporary art is always a risk. But it is worth it if you are engaged in the art milieu and if you love what you collect. You really have to like it. I believe the most common mistake is collecting with financial purposes. That is my point of view…

What has the reaction been like from visitors of your collection since making it publicly accessible? Does this reaction impact you and what you collect?

When I decided to purchase a piece of land and build the Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (my wife and I personally designed the building), I just wanted a place to install my collection and to be able to see the works that were kept in crates for a long time. The idea came after I was invited to show the collection at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo, in 2001. When I saw the works installed in the MAM’s space, I knew I had to have a place where they could be constantly shown. At first I didn’t think of opening the space to the public, but as soon as we opened the IFF in October 2011, we felt that it had to share the collection publically. I was really impacted by the reaction of people that came that I decided to keep it open from Tuesday to Saturday and to have an education department devoted to schools, mainly public ones.

Since we have opened the IFF, we haver had over forty thousand visitors, most of them are students from schools of Ribeirão Preto and nearby cities. It is an amazing number if you take in account that we are located in a city of less than one million inhabitants. So, yes, it impacts not only what we collect, but also how we show the collection. For that reason, I invite a curator every year to make a selection of works from the collection. We also print folders with texts and images of the exhibitions, which are freely distributed. Our website has videos with interviews with the curator and the artists of the collection, available through youtube. Entrance is also free.

Installation view 2016 with works by Edgard de Souza. Photo: Maurício Froldi
Installation view 2016 with works by Edgard de Souza. Photo: Maurício Froldi
Installation view 2018 with works by Marcus Vinicius. Photo: Maurício Froldi
Installation view 2018 with works by Marcus Vinicius. Photo: Maurício Froldi

How has the attitude to collecting changed since you began?

I began the collection in a very informal way, buying artworks to install my apartment in Sao Paulo. I was introduced to Luisa Strina and bought a Jorge Guinle painting. That was the first artwork I acquired. When I moved to a bigger house in Ribeirão Preto, I felt I had to buy more works to fill the walls. Well, I filled the walls and never stopped collecting.

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

Inhotim, in Minas Gerais is a memorable collection. I also suggest Marcos Amaro’s collection, who just opened a public space in Itú, a small city near São Paulo.

All images courtesy The IFF, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

More Information on IFF

Collectors (77)

Narda van 't Veer

The Narda van 't Veer Collection – Monnickendam, Netherlands

Rashid Al Khalifa


Olivier Chow

The Olivier Chow Collection – Lausanne, Switzerland

Valeria Napoleone

Valeria and Gregorio Napoleone Collection – London, UK

Matteo Novarese

SOF:ART – Bologna, Italy

Martin Steppacher

Gallery Durchgang – Basel, Switzerland

Carmelo Graci

Graci Collection – Mantova, Italy

Dr. William Lim

Living Collection – Hong Kong


Nicola Erni Collection – Steinhausen, Switzerland

Lukas Jakob

Jakob Collection – Gundelfingen, Germany

Claus Busch Risvig

Bech Risvig Collection – Silkeborg, Denmark

Joseph Awuah-Darko

The Terra Collection Of African Contemporary Art – Accra, Ghana | London, UK


Ingrid and Thomas Jochheim Collection – Berlin, Germany

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Bernardo Paz

Instituto Inhotim – Centro de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico – Brumadinho, Brazil

Tony Salamé

Aïshti Foundation – Beirut, Lebanon

Nadia & Rajeeb Samdani

Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Lord David Cholmondeley

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn, Great Britain

Galila Barzilaï-Hollander

Galila's P.O.C., Brussels, Belgium

Martin Margulies

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse – Miami, United States of America

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Christen Sveaas

Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Rik Reinking

WAI - Woods Art Institute, Wentorf bei Hamburg, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany