ARTnewsletter Archive

Sachses Keep Adding to Expansive Contemporary-Art Collection

Visitors entering the Manhattan loft of collectors Keith and Kathy Sachs might have difficulty deciding which major work of art to focus on first: A large, digitally manipulated 2007 landscape photo by Thomas Ruff on the wall to the left; Fire, 1965, a flat, pink acrylic-on-plywood cutout sculpture by Richard Tuttle, which sits in the

NEW YORK—Visitors entering the Manhattan loft of collectors Keith and Kathy Sachs might have difficulty deciding which major work of art to focus on first: A large, digitally manipulated 2007 landscape photo by Thomas Ruff on the wall to the left; Fire, 1965, a flat, pink acrylic-on-plywood cutout sculpture by Richard Tuttle, which sits in the middle of their terrazzo living-room floor, and Abstraktes Bild, Dunkel (613-2), 1986, a major abstract painting by Gerhard Richter on a far wall, are just a few of the works that are immediately visible from the foyer.

The eclectic collection of contemporary art placed throughout their downtown apartment—which they bought nine years ago and which was designed for them by architect Richard Gluck­man—represents only a portion of their extensive holdings, most of which are in their main residence in Philadelphia.

To the left of the Richter hang paintings by Robert Ryman and Brice Marden, while Standing Girl, 2004–5, a life-size gray porcelain statue by Kiki Smith originally exhibited at the 2005 Venice Biennale, stands near the window, gazing wistfully out. Her location, Kathy told ARTnewsletter with a laugh, “makes our conservator very nervous.”

Keith is chairman and CEO of Saxco Inter­national, a distributor of packaging, primarily for alcoholic-beverage producers. Kathy has been involved with the Philadelphia Museum of Art in various capacities for 40 years. Most recently, she served as adjunct curator in the European-painting department. Her most recent exhibition was “Cézanne and Beyond” (Feb. 26–May 31, 2009), which she cocurated with Joseph Rishel, the senior curator of the department. Before that, she worked on several exhibitions, including the museum’s major Cézanne show in 1995–96.

The couple, who met as students at the University of Pennsylvania, and who have three children, have been collecting for more than 40 years. “The artists we like, we like to collect in depth,” Keith noted. A large, multicolor Ellsworth Kelly painting (one of ten Kelly works they own) takes up a good portion of one wall, while five early drawings from the artist’s Paris period (1948–54) hang nearby. “Our works represent a pretty comprehensive view of his work from his early work through to the present,” he added. The couple rarely sell works and prefer buying privately through dealers to buying at auction.

Other works on display in the apartment include a mirror painting by Michelangelo Pistoletto, and a large lightbox photo of women playing cards by Jeff Wall. In the master bedroom, Nines, 2006, a massive Jasper Johns painting, hangs on a wall near the bed. On the opposite side of the bed stands a Robert Gober wax sculpture of a man’s chest (with real human hair) encased in a milk crate, above which hangs a large John Chamberlain wall sculpture of brightly colored twisted auto metal.

Among the couple’s recent acquisitions are three Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs, from the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and a work by Swiss duo Fischli & Weiss from a recent show at Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (ANL, 1/26/10).

  • Issues