The collection of Eli Broad, philanthropist and founder of The Broad museum who died aged 87
Eli Broad with his wife Edythe built the great contemporary art museum for the city of Los Angeles
The billionaire art collector, philanthropist and entrepreneur Eli Broad, a leading figure in the cultural landscape of the United States and, above all, in the city of Los Angeles, has died at the age of 87. Among his activities for art and culture, the foundation of the Broad, a contemporary art museum opened in 2015 that exhibits the collection that he and his wife, Edythe Broad, have built together.
Real estate and insurance tycoon, while alive he founded the Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation and the insurance company SunAmerica which, according to Forbes estimates, had earned him a net worth of $ 69 billion.
A native of New York, however, it is on the other side of the US coast, in Los Angeles, that with his wife Edith, a great art lover, they started their own collection by buying from young galleries in the city such as Ferus and Nicholas Wilder.
“Edye was the first collector of our family, while I arrived later, about 50 years ago. She was my inspiration to collect art,” Eli said in 2016. “I went on business trips and when I was at abroad, she was buying prints. One day, she bought a wonderful poster by Toulouse Lautrec, which I recognized. This intrigued me. ” The first purchase was a drawing by Vincent van Gogh, and since that time the collection has blossomed rapidly.
Before opening their museum, the couple also played a decisive role in the foundation of the MoCA – Museum of Contemporary Art di Los Angeles in Los Angeles and in the formation of the collection: in fact, the purchase of 80 works by the Italian collector Giuseppe dates back to his years as president of Eli. Panza di Biumo. With a $ 11 million heist, works by Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist, estimated today at over $ 1 billion, entered the newborn Los Angeles museum.
However, the couple’s most important decision was made in 2015: the foundation of The Broad museum to bear their name and show anyone who wanted their prestigious collection that boasts names such as Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly, Takashi Murakami, Cindy Sherman, Christopher Wool, Jasper Johns and Yayoi Kusama. Located in the same street as the MoCA, the Broad stands next to another significant building in the city commissioned by the internationally renowned architect Renzo Piano from the Broads: the Disney Concert Hall. The museum was immediately successful, attracting more than 900,000 people in 2019 alone, and marked the turning point for the cultural transformation of the Bunker Hill neighborhood.
The impact of the couple on the life and cultural environment not only of Los Angeles but of the whole of America is therefore evident but perhaps this is to be found in one of the most famous maxims of this art lover: “Civilizations are not remembered by their businessmen, their bankers or lawyers. “They are remembered by the arts.”