ATHENS – “I hope and pray that this action finds many imitators. We have many significant collectors. I invite them to adopt this example,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, regarding the decision by art collector Dimitris Daskalopoulos to donate a significant part of his collection to four public museums in Greece and abroad.
Daskalopoulos will be donating more than 350 works of art by 142 artists, of which 140 will be given to the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, roughly 100 in a joint gift to the Guggenheim and MCA Chicago museums and 110 to the Tate.
Speaking during an event held at the refurbished former state tobacco factory, Mitsotakis thanked Daskalopoulos on behalf of all Greeks and said that it was a great day for Athens and for contemporary art worldwide.
The prime minister noted that this was the largest-ever donation made to the EMST and made the following remarks, addressing Daskalopoulos and those present:
“I have had many discussions with Dimitris about the present and future of his collection. I know how he troubled over it and with what difficulty but also joy he is now here to announce the donation. The moment of parting is not an easy process. For each of the works you remember not just when you acquired them but also the feelings they evoked. It is a kaleidoscope of emotions in the passage of an entire lifetime that you share with four museums,” Mitsotakis said.
“You rightly said that the importance of this gift is that a private acquisition is turned into a public good,” the prime minister continued, adding that works of art are made so that the artist can share them with as many people as possible.
“A private collection could be construed as a selfish action. Many private collections have ended up in storage. This often happens when art is converted from a good to a financial asset,” the prime minister added.
Referring to the EMST, he noted that a major outstanding issue has been resolved and operates with dynamism and vision, while new doors for cooperation have opened.
“The collection deserves to inspire and move as many people as possible in the world,” Daskalopoulos said.