2008 Power List: 35. Tobias Meyer

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Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, Sotheby's (Age: 45)

While pretty much the entire economic landscape is in ruins, one gilded corner remains: the soaring art market. Thank Tobias Meyer, who has established himself as the art world's most dynamic deal-maker. In May, he engineered the sale of Francis Bacon's Triptych for an artist record $86 million. But his coup de grâce was persuading Damien Hirst to bypass dealers like Larry Gagosian and give his works directly to Sotheby's to auction. Meyer helped Hirst rake in more than $170 million, establishing the provocative Brit as the most bankable artist since Andy Warhol. Meyer's steely confidence and instinctive taste allow him to guarantee huge prices to artists with the certitude that he can sell their work for a profit. "Tobias is the James Bond of the art market," Peter Dunham, a Los Angeles-based collector, told the New York Times. "He's beautifully dressed [and] has beautiful manners. But he's tenacious and ruthlessly efficient in getting the deal done. His skill lies in his ability to make collectors and buyers feel comfortable." Even as everything else is crashing down around them.


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