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National Treasures: The Art of Collecting

  • Season 1
  • 10 episodes
  • Documentary
  • Arts
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Episode 1: National Treasures: The Art of Collecting

Summary

A selection of art collectors from around the world reveal their most valuable pieces, beginning with Nasser David Khalili, who has amassed 35,000 pieces of Islamic art.
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Review

Feted by popes and presidents, Professor Nasser David Khalili has been a prolific collector of beautiful things since he was a child stamp collector in Iran. Now in his 70s, he’s amassed some 35,000 objects, from gorgeously illuminated 14th-century Korans to impossibly accomplished 19th-century Japanese embroidered silks and Spanish damascened steels.

He believes that art can unite the world, and clearly loves every one of his treasures, insisting that, “If you buy just for monetary value, you’re not a collector, you’re a commodity broker.” But while your eye will be dazzled, your mind might wonder where everything’s kept, how does he afford it all and does he buy everything himself?

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