Born into a family of art-lovers and collectors, Basel Dalloul tells Selections how he began collecting at a young age, and why he doesn’t have a favourite artwork.
Basel Dalloul, chairman and CEO of Noor Group, one of the world’s IT leaders and provider of internet and communication services to most countries around the globe, also has an incredible art collection that spans various genres and eras. He chats with Selections about his collection and explains what prompted him to turn his attention to art.
When did you start collecting art and what prompted you to start doing so?
I started collecting art at the young age of 16. What prompted me to do so were several things. From an even younger age, my mother used to drag my brother and I to museums and galleries. She loved art in all its forms and she engaged us during our visits to these places, explaining the art, putting it in context for us and really bringing the art to life. That got me hooked, and I always looked forward to our museum visits. It was this love affair with art at a very young age that prompted me to start collecting myself.
Can you tell us a little about your collection? How big is it? What kind of art do you collect?
My personal collection (and I say this because there is also the family collection that I am quite involved with) is mostly American pop art, street art and outsider art. I also dabble in Latin American art. My involvement in the family collection of pan-Arab art has also rubbed off on me a little, and I am slowly easing into this type of art as well. I have paintings, sculptures and quite a bit of photography. Today my collection stands at a little over 700 pieces.
Which works are your favourites?
Wow, that’s a very difficult question for me to answer. I never buy a piece I don’t love, so asking me which of these pieces are my favourites is like asking a parent to choose which one of their children they love more.
Do you exhibit your artworks? If so, where do you usually hold exhibitions? Do you loan out pieces to museums and art galleries?
I exhibit my artworks at home in Washington DC, and from time to time I loan pieces out to museums around the United States and Europe.
Do you belong to any art organisations? Which ones?
I sit on several museum boards and advisory groups, including the venerable Guggenheim Museum in New York.
You come from a family of collectors. Do you feel that, having grown up surrounded by art, you’re bound to continue your family’s collecting tradition?
Absolutely! Stay tuned, we have a lot of very exciting announcements to make in the coming years.
A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, The Collectors Issue #38, pages 50-55.