Who’s buying? Art collectors in LA

Many have private museums, serve as trustees and lend to public museums


Eli and Edythe Broad

Originally from Detroit, Eli Broad came to Los Angeles, bringing his real estate business with him, in the 1960s. It would be impossible to underestimate his influence on the city’s art scene. Broad has been focused on building institutions over the past decade, starting with his foundation’s 2003 announcement of a $60m donation to build the Broad Contemporary Art Museum on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s campus. This opened in 2008, and hosts a selection of the mega-collector’s holdings along with temporary shows. The same year that the new museum opened, Broad bailed out the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MoCA) with a $3m per year cash injection and a promise to match up to $15m in fundraising for the endowment. His personal museum in downtown LA, known simply as The Broad, opens in 2013.

Michael Ovitz

American talent agent Ovitz co-founded the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1975. He began amassing his collection 30 years ago, and gives invite-only tours of the 28,000 sq. ft, purpose-built complex that houses it. A major player in the Los Angeles art scene, he is known to be a big supporter of young LA artist Sterling Ruby. His collection includes works by Robert Ryman, Jasper Johns, Richard Prince and Chuck Close, as well as several Rembrandt etchings and Picasso paintings.

Clifford and Mandy Einstein

The chairman emeritus of MoCA’s board of trustees, this former advertising executive, and his wife Mandy, are among LA’s most established collectors. Their Brentwood home boasts one of the few privately owned James Turrell “skyspaces”. Last year, the Einsteins completed a donation of six contemporary works to MoCA, originally promised in 2006. The gift included the Ed Moses painting New York Trac, 1975, which was featured in the museum’s anniversary survey “Collection: MoCA’s First Thirty Years”.

Rosette Delug

The Turkish-born collector came to LA as a young woman, having fled an arranged marriage, to attend the University of California, Los Angeles. She started collecting just ten years ago, after a difficult divorce. She joined MoCA’s acquisitions committee in 2003 and became a trustee the next year, but resigned when Eli Broad bailed out the cash-strapped museum in 2008. Her collection includes works by Chris Ofili, Sigmar Polke, Jim Lambie, Peter Doig, Luc Tuymans and Neo Rauch, while her swimming pool is tiled with a text-piece by Lawrence Weiner.

David Geffen

Several key works in the current De Kooning exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (until 9 January 2012) come from the collection of Hollywood entertainment magnate Geffen. The self-made billionaire has a major collection of post-war American art. He reportedly sold Jackson Pollock’s No. 5, 1948, for around $140m in 2006—the most expensive private transaction at that time.

Alan S. Hergott and Curt Shepard

Entertainment lawyer Alan Hergott’s A-list movie star clients reportedly include Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe. He and his partner Curt Shepard are major contemporary collectors and are frequently spotted at major art world events. They regularly lend support to MoCA.

Tony Ganz

Native New Yorker Tony Ganz is the son of the late Victor Ganz, the former vice president of the Whitney Museum of American Art and chairman of the Battery Park City Fine Arts Committee. Tony Ganz has worked in film and television production in LA since the 1980s, the same decade that he began collecting art. He has maintained his links with the Whitney: he and his wife Gail have provided support for the museum’s current Paul Thek exhibition (until 9 January 2012).

Eugene Sadovoy

The billionaire’s Twitter account details every opening he attends and each article that mentions him. He is, it seems, very active. He lends support to museums including the Guggenheim in New York and MoCA.

Dean Valentine

TV producer Dean Valentine has been collecting since 1994, though does not like to attend art fairs, and prefers not to buy at auction. He buys a lot—and gives away a lot, too: in 2009 he said that he owned around 500 or 600 works, and had given away 200 in the previous year. He is outspoken in his opinion on private collectors setting up their own museums, and believes more donations should be made to public museums. His collection includes work by Gabriel Orozco, Jorge Pardo, Franz Ackermann, John Currin and Elizabeth Peyton.

Eugenio Lopez

One of the biggest collectors in Mexico, the sole heir to the Jumex fruit juice and foods conglomerate is also very active in Los Angeles. He sits on the board of MoCA, to which he donated $1m during its recent financial difficulties, as well as pledging $500,000 each year as part of the museum’s trustee agreement. He owns 2,450 works of art from minimalists such as Dan Flavin to more contemporary artists such as Richard Prince and Damián Ortega.

Darren Starr

Creator of the popular television series “Sex and the City”, Starr is a major collector who also sits on the board of trustees at MoCA.

Anne Anka

Former Vogue model Anne Anka was married to the singer Paul Anka. She began collecting in the 1960s, and owns works by artists including Christopher Wool, Albert Oehlen and Ed Ruscha. She is not involved in any museum boards, and works mainly with art adviser Lisa Schiff.