There are Passionate Art Collectors and then there are Fanatical Ones

There are passionate art collectors and then there are fanatical ones. We have listed few such obsessive art collectors who even served as art patrons for budding and up-coming young artists, not for personal financial gain or for investment sake but purely for their love for art. Their insightfulness and intuition has originated many success stories for accomplished and skilled artists.

Herbert and Dorothy (1922-2012) (b. 1935), a working-class couple (Herbert was a postal clerk and Dorothy worked as a librarian), are known as the champions of art collectors. With their common interest in art, the made-for-each other couple amassed a priceless collection of over 4,782 artworks, considered to be one of the most important private art collections of the 20th century, which they surprisingly stored in their one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Running out of space in their apartment, they decided to donate part of their collection to the National Gallery of Art (Washington) instead of selling.

 Herbert & Dorothy  (Shown above) with their treasured artworks in their one-bedroom apartment.

Sergei Shchukin (1854-1936) was a Russian businessman, the art he bought in his time was rebuffed by the Louvre and other museums. He had a strong association particularly with Henri Rousseau. The artist (Rousseau) decorated his mansion and created one of his iconic paintings-La Danse. Shchukin’s collection was brutally criticized and ridiculed by the art circle, he jokingly remarked, “A madman painted it and a madman bought it.”  After the 1917 Revolution, the government acquired his collection, his mansion in Moscow became the State Museum of New Western Art.

Sergei Shchukin (Left),- The iconic paining made by Henri Rousseau for his mansion- The Dance (Right)

A portion of Sergei Shchukin’s mansion with his collection (Shown above)

Don and Mera Rubell, Miami based art enthusiasts started collecting shortly after they got married, Don was still a medical student and Mera was working as a teacher. The couple was organized and practical in their purchases, 25 percent of their monthly finances were fixed for acquiring artworks for their collection. They mostly bought art pieces from young and rising artists. As their financial conditions improved, the Rubells’s gradually extended their range to international aspiring new artists. As selfless art collectors, the Rubell’s showcase their collection annually for public viewing from mid-December to early August.

Don and Mera Rubell (Shown above) image source

Albert Barnes (1872-1951) a chemist by profession is known as one of the most insightful and intuitive art collector. In late 19th century/early 20th century, when modern artists like Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani were considered too vague and forward, he bought their artworks and gradually made an art collection of 2,500 art items which is currently worth at least $25-billion. Before long, he got a mansion built and designed especially for his collection, access to which was limited to selected few, mostly art students. After Barnes death, his collection is now part of Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Albert Barnes with his art collection

Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), an American industrialist and founder of Freer Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), he is best known for his vast collection of Asian art mostly sculptures, paintings and ceramics from Egypt, Iran, Japan, China, and Korea. Though his collection also includes number of American masters but he was particularly fascinated by the works of James Whistler. One of his most famous acquisitions was James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room, a masterpiece of mural art. Freer filled the shelves in the peacock room with pots he had acquired from Asia. This asserted his belief that “all works of art go together, whatever their period.”

Interior of the Peacock Room, the panels are painted with brilliant blue-greens and gold leaf

Charles Lang Freer (Right), The Princess from the Land of Porcelain (one of the artworks in The Peacock Room

One of the panels in The Peacock Room (Right), Asian Pots placed along the panels (left)