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(Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Lorene Emerson / National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Gallery Archives; Alan Davidson / Wireimage / Getty Images)

More Astounding Modern Art Collectors

Like the Steins, other collectors and patrons influenced 20th-century art by supporting new genres and unheralded artists

Peggy Guggenheim 1898-1979

Popular art soirees in Guggenheim’s Manhattan town house inspired the heiress to open the Art of This Century gallery, which became the 1940s cutting-edge venue for modern art and emerging artists, particularly American Abstract Expressionists. Guggenheim exhibited their work, arranged solo shows, exposed them to European modernists and provided stipends. The artists she helped launch include Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock, said by some critics to be the greatest artist of the century.

Dorothy Vogel 1935- and Herbert Vogel 1922-

Herb was a postal clerk and Dorothy a librarian in 1965 when the New York City couple bought their first Sol LeWitt, one of the first works the pioneering minimalist ever sold. Living on Dorothy’s salary and buying art with Herb’s, the Vogels made daring purchases, taking an early interest in Christo, Chuck Close and Richard Tuttle, among others. In 1992 they donated their collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Charles Saatchi 1943-

Damien Hirst’s 17-foot shark suspended in formaldehyde was among the works snapped up by Charles Saatchi, a British collector specializing in contemporary art he calls “headbuttingly impossible to ignore.” “Sensation,” a 1990s exhibition of his collection, made stars of art-world rebels Hirst, Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin and brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman.

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