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Meet Oliver Elst

Art collector and founder of the Cuperior Art Collection

Meet Oliver Elst - illustration 1

Oliver Elst and Arty in front of a work by No Martins

Oliver Elst is an art collector, the founder of the Cuperior Art Collection and co-founder of PRIOR Art Space. Passionate about African art and a pro at understanding trends in the art market, Artsper sat down with him to hear more about his experience.

1. Hi Oliver! You are a passionate collector of contemporary African art and its diaspora. How did you begin your Cuperior Collection in 2016? And what's the meaning behind Cuperior?

I started first with editions from the German artist Gerhard Richter. Because editions didn't give me the same feeling as a real work of art I decided to start Cuperior Collection. The word "Cuperior" describes the philosophy of the collection. The word is a combination of the latin word cupere, meaning desire and prior, meaning the precursor.

When I was younger, my dad traveled a lot to Africa and afterwards he would share photos of his trips with me. Today, artists from Africa show a completely different view of their country, which greatly inspired me to focus my collection on contemporary African art and its diaspora. In 2020, I opened my collection to a wider range of artists internationally.

2. One of Artsper's aims is to make the art world accessible to all. In previous interviews, you have voiced a similar viewpoint. What advice would you give to first-time art collectors who want to kickstart their own private collection?

Listen to your gut feeling and train your eye. See a lot of art and take a lot of time to digest what you like and if you think it's good or not. When you buy a work, be 100% sure.

Meet Oliver Elst - illustration 1
Meet Oliver Elst - illustration 1

Left: Artwork by Tyler Ballon, Right: Artwork by Cinga Samson

3. What are some trends you're forecasting for private collectors in the coming year?

Recently there has been a tremendous increase in prices for artists in galleries and auctions. We're already seeing it, but there will be a slowdown of the prices and a more careful criteria to determine which artworks are really exceptional, what is good and what is not.

4. Where do you find your artworks? Do online marketplaces play an important part in your acquisition of art?

Yes, my fiance Laura, the founder of Del Arco collection, and I do most of our research on Instagram and through gallery websites.

Meet Oliver Elst - illustration 1
Meet Oliver Elst - illustration 1

Left: Artworks by Bambou Gili of Del Arco Collection and No Martins of Cuperior Collection, Right: Artwork by Matthew Eguavoen

5. Can you share a few special emerging African artists that you love right now?

Cinga Samson, Tyler Ballon, Joseph Aina, Ian Michael, Annan Affotey, Sikelela Owen, Jon Madu, Matthew Eguavoen, and Joy Labinjo.

Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Hassan Hajjaj, V.B.F., Photography

Hassan Hajjaj

V.B.F., 2011
28.3 x 18.9 x 0.4 inch


Our recommendations Aboudia, Sans titre, Painting


Sans titre, 2020
59.1 x 59.1 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Rancher, Print

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe

Rancher, 2021
35 x 27 inch


Our recommendations Idris Habib, Senya, Painting

Idris Habib

Senya, 2021
12 x 12 x 0.2 inch


Our recommendations Sesse Elangwe Ngeseli, Our daily bread, Painting

Sesse Elangwe Ngeseli

Our daily bread, 2022
78.7 x 78.7 inch


Our recommendations Alida Ymélé, Demi-toilette, Painting

Alida Ymélé

Demi-toilette, 2022
45.3 x 51.2 inch


Sesse Elangwe Ngeseli, Feelings from the other side, Painting

Sesse Elangwe Ngeseli

Feelings from the other side, 2022
36 x 36 inch


Sesse Elangwe Ngeseli, Thinking of pride, Painting

Sesse Elangwe Ngeseli

Thinking of pride, 2022
63.8 x 63.8 inch