BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

How to Pass On a Passion

On long-term challenges for new private museums

Palazzo Grassi in Venice, 2011
Palazzo Grassi in Venice, 2011

An observable trend of the past years and a safe prediction for 2015 is that the concept of the „single – donor“ museum is at the forefront. Now more than ever, private art collectors are opening up their collection to the public by founding influential institutions such as the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, The Francois Pinault Foundation – Palazzo Grassi in Venice and the new Broad museum to open in Los Angeles this autumn. Certainly, the role and mission of these institutions – such as their accessibility and community involvement – has become a widely discussed topic in the art world.

A less talked about issue is what will happen to these museums once the founding collector has passed away. Journalist Jori Finkel from The Art Newspaper addressed this question in her recently published article: will there be life after death for new private museums?

Considering the age of many collectors, asking how they plan to ensure “the vitality and flexibility of their prized institutions beyond their own lifetimes” appears to be a legitimate question. Finkel mentions collectors such as Bernard Arnault of the Foundation Louis Vuitton, The Rubells as well as Eli Broad, and discusses their different outlooks on the years to come. Arnault for instance has agreed on turning over his collection building, designed by Frank Gehry, to the city of Paris in 2062, but has not mentioned details about any sort of collection endowment. Philanthropist Eli Broad on the other hand has already announced to endow his new museum at over $200 million. For many however, it remains uncertain what will happen to their art one day. Whether donated to a charitable foundation, or left to the heirs, possibilities appear to be manifold.

Similar to public institutions, also privately run museums have become a part of their local communities – so the question remains how this engagement will continue in the future. For the Rubells in Miami it is clear: their children and grandchildren who are also already passionate art lovers will continue what they have successfully built up thus far.

Amended Image by Alma Pater via Wikimedia; CC Licence Info

More Information on The Art Newspaper

Insiders (67)

Wilhelmina Jewell Strong - Sparks

Founder of BiTHOUSE Projects - BAAR Art Journey


Collector behind the ARNDT Collection

Sandra Guimarães

Director of Museum of Contemporary Art Helga de Alvear

Grazyna Kulczyk

Founder of Muzeum Susch


Interview with Georgie Pope and Eleonora Sutter, Co-founders

Kamiar Maleki

Director at VOLTA

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022

Tokini Peterside

Founder and Director, ART X Lagos


Founding Director of the Athens Biennale

Boris Ondreička

Artistic Director of viennacontemporary

Maribel Lopez

Director of ARCO

David Gryn

Founder and Director of Daata

Fondation Beyeler Audiovisual Broadcast

Fondation Beyeler and Nordstern Basel present Dixon x Transmoderna

Gary Yeh

Founder of ArtDrunk and Young Collector

WATCH: The Best of the BMW Art Guide

Where will you travel next to explore art?

Maike Cruse

2020 Gallery Weekend Berlin

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Johann König

Messe in St. Agnes

PArt - Producers Art Platform

A crisis initiative to help artists directly affected by the pandemic

Barbara Moore

CEO of Biennale of Sydney

Unique Collector’s Item

by Independent Collectors

Alix Dana

Fair Director at Independent

When Collectors are Able to Commission

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Juliet Kothe and Julia Rust

Initiators of Collection Night, Berlin

Marie-Anne McQuay

Curator of Wales in Venice, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Dorothy and Herb Vogel

Two extraordinary art collectors

Heather Hubbs

Director at NADA

Every Art Collection Needs Space

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Collecting Art with François Pinault

Rudolf Stingel at Palazzo Grassi

A Common Ground

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Caroline Vos

Director at Amsterdam Art Weekend

Hidden Collections

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Nicole Berry

Executive Director of The Armory Show

Daniel Hug

Fair Director at Art Cologne

The Role of the Art Fair

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Peter Bläuer

Director at LISTE

A Brush Against Nature

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Ilaria Bonacossa

Director of Artissima

Excessiveness, the Latent Danger of Collecting Art

by Independent Collectors

Jo Stella-Sawicka

Artistic Director at Frieze

Florence Bourgeois

Director at Paris Photo

Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

by Christiane Meixner

Specifically Commissioned

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Manuela Mozo

Executive Director of UNTITLED, ART Miami and San Francisco

Important Museums and Private Collections

by Christiane Meixner

Susanna Corchia

Director of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Emilia van Lynden

Artistic Director at Unseen, Amsterdam

Carlos Urroz

Director at ARCOmadrid

Shoe Smudges Streaked Across the White Walls

by Christiane Meixner

Amanda Coulson

Director at VOLTA Basel

Douwe Cramer

Director at Singapore Contemporary

Art and Architecture – Attractive Allies

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Jo Baring

Curator of Sculpture Series, Masterpiece London

Bidders and Buyers

by Christiane Meixner

Anne Vierstraete

Managing Director at Art Brussels

Nanna Hjortenberg

Director at CHART

The Crucial Role of the New

by Independent Collectors

Makers and Believers

On Art History’s Most Famous Patrons

The Past is Back

And collectors are buying it up

Are Artists the Better Curators?

On the diminishing boundary between professions in the art world

The Digital Museum

On the importance of the museum’s web presence

The Man in the Middle

On the curator’s private and public engagements

A Private Matter?

On the importance of physical space for the value of art

Off the Wall

How museums contribute to the worth of artworks

Where to Go Next?

The fragmentation of Manhattan’s gallery scene

To Buy or Not to Buy

Collectors on their experiences of letting an artwork slip away