Bernard Arnault, founder of LVMH, lost some $11.2 billion of his personal fortune after a stock selloff saw LVMH shares fall 5 percent in Paris Tuesday, according to a report by Bloomberg. Arnault is still the richest man in the world, but the gap is closing between him and number two: Elon Musk.
LVMH, a luxury conglomerate whose assets include Moët, Hennessy, and Louis Vuitton, was hit with the stock rout after concerns over a flagging luxury market in the United States and China saw a general stock sell-off across the board, with brands like Hermes and Gucci also taking a blow.
However, luxury goods have been on an astounding run since last year, so while these markets have fallen, stock in LVMH is 23 percent higher than it was this time last year. It’s a comparative blip for a man like Arnault, whose fortune ballooned $29.5 billion this year alone, an accumulation that, once again, pushed him over the line to be the richest man in the world, as was confirmed just earlier this April.
Arnault has been a long time force in the art world, both facilitating collaborations between his brands and artists (such as a recent collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama) and as a renowned collector himself, along with his wife Hélène. He and his wife are the richest ARTnews Top 200 Collectors and is followed closely behind on the list by his fellow luxury market rival François Pinault.
Yet, Arnault’s most significant contribution to the art world would be Fondation Louis Vuitton, which he founded in in 2014. A now renowned Frank Gehry–designed museum in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne, the museum has hosted blockbuster shows that often center two artists, such as the recent “Monet-Mitchell” show and their current exhibition Basquiat X Warhol.
Arnault’s ties to the art world are so enmeshed that, last fall rumors, swirled that the next LVMH acquisition would be Gagosian gallery—which Gagosian has since denied.