Living with Matisse, Picasso, and Christo Teto Ahrenberg and His Collections

Monte Packham, Carrie Pilto, Staffan Ahrenberg, Olivier Berggruen, Jeanette Bonnier, Daniel Birnbaum, Jean-Louis Cohen, Erling Kagge, Eberhard W. Kornfeld, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Simon de Pury

From Cahiers d’Art, a monograph on one of the most ambitious collections of 20th-century art, and its complex, charismatic creator, Theodor Ahrenberg.

Living with Matisse, Picasso, and Christo explores one of the most ambitious, and yet largely unknown, private collections of twentieth-century Western art, and its charismatic creator Theodor “Teto” Ahrenberg (1912–1989). Containing over 6,000 artworks acquired between the 1940s and late 1980s, Ahrenberg’s collection features key works by artists as distinguished and diverse as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier, Olle Bærtling, Sam Francis, Öyvind Fahlström, Tadeusz Kantor, Lucio Fontana, Christo, Jean Tinguely, and Niki de Saint Phalle.

Ahrenberg’s ever-evolving collection was shaped by his commitment to the changing notion of contemporary art, his dedication to young and marginalized artists, and a self- declared conviction that he was not merely a collector but one who facilitated exhibitions, collaborations, and commissions, and who employed art as an instrument against conservatism and complacency. Ahrenberg passionately believed in personally meeting those artists whose works he acquired, and he accordingly established rich, long-term friendships that transcended the conventional artist-collector dynamic.


Monte Packham


Monte Packham is the author of several books on art, including Concentric Circles and ABC Photography.

Carrie Pilto

Edited By

Staffan Ahrenberg

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Staffan Ahrenberg is the publisher of Cahiers d’Art.

Olivier Berggruen

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Jeanette Bonnier

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Daniel Birnbaum

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Daniel Birnbaum (b. 1963) is the director of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Jean-Louis Cohen

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Erling Kagge

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Eberhard W. Kornfeld

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Hans Ulrich Obrist

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Hans Ulrich Obrist is Artistic Director at Serpentine in London and Senior Advisor at LUMA Arles. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Simon de Pury

Contributions By