The post-war and contemporary collections of leading American collectors

And the highlights of their collections


Kenneth Griffin and Anne Dias Griffin

Billionaire power couple Kenneth Griffin and French-born Anne Dias Griffin, who both run hedge funds, are building an impressive collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and modern art. The couple made headlines in 2006 by purchasing Jasper Johns’s False Start from media tycoon David Geffen, reportedly for $80m. The Griffins have donated $19m towards the new $300m Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the largest private donations ever made to the museum. The expansion, designed by Renzo Piano, is scheduled to open in May 2009. Mr Griffin sits on the boards of the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemp­orary Art (MCA), Chicago, while Ms Dias Griffin is on the board of the Whitney Museum in New York.

Stefan Edlis and H. Gael Neeson

Contemporary art collectors Stefan Edlis and H. Gael Neeson own several famous works including Jasper Johns’s Target (1961), Ron Mueck’s Dead Dad (1996-97) and Jeff Koons’s Jim Beam J.B. Turner Train (1986). In May 2007, Mr Edlis sold Andy Warhol’s Turquoise Marilyn for a reported $80m to Connecticut hedge fund manager and über-collector Steven Cohen, with dealer Larry Gagosian negotiating the purchase. Mr Edlis, a retired executive of Apollo Plastics Corporation, is on the board of the MCA, while both Mr Edlis and Ms Neeson are on the acquisitions committee of the American Patrons of Tate.

Susan and Lewis Manilow

Susan and Lewis Manilow are collectors of post-war contemporary art, with an emphasis on works by Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Jeff Koons, Kiki Smith and Kara Walker. Their collection also includes a selection of Gandharan and classical Indian sculptures, Turkish rugs and other antiquities. An attorney and real estate developer, Mr Manilow founded the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park in 1971 in memory of his father. For this he commissioned works by Mark di Suvero, Martin Puryear, John Chamberlain, Bruce Nauman and Mary Miss. Mr Manilow is a life trustee of the Art Institute and a founding trustee of the MCA, where he was president from 1976 to 1981. In November 2000 President Clinton awarded Mr Manilow the National Medal of Arts.

Marilynn Alsdorf

Marilynn Alsdorf and her late husband James W. Alsdorf began acquiring art in the 1960s, amassing one of the largest private collections of Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian art in the US. The couple’s collection also includes rare examples of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Islamic art, and modern and American folk art. Ms Alsdorf has given $20m to the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is a life trustee, and in 1997 she donated some 400 Asian sculptures to the museum. She also serves on the boards of the MCA and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Donna and Howard Stone

Donna and Howard Stone are leading collectors of minimal and conceptual art. Mr Stone is a life trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago, to which the couple has donated, loaned, and provided support for the purchase of more than 50 works by artists including Felix Gonzáles-Torres, Steve McQueen, Cady Noland, Diana Thater, and Rosemarie Trockel. The Stones are giving the Art Institute a collection of 20 video works, including Pierre Huyghe’s Les Grands Ensembles (1994/2001), William Kent­ridge’s Ubu Tells the Truth (1997) and Shirin Neshat’s Rapture (1999). Ms Stone is a trustee of the MCA. Mr Stone is a retired executive of Sun Valley Baking Corporation.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Major collectors'