What would become Leslie Wexner’s retail empire began in 1963 with the opening of a single store. Likewise, what has become Wexner and his wife Abigail’s extraordinary art collection began in 1978 with the purchase of a single work, de Kooning’s Pink Lady (ca. 1944). The couple, a selection of whose holdings were displayed at Ohio’s Wexner Center in 2014, still own Pink Lady, but many of their other New York School works—by artists such as Franz Kline and Mark Rothko—have since been given up to support the new focus of the collection: Picasso. “My feeling was, and still is, that when you look at Picasso, you realize that he was the true founder of modern and contemporary art,” Wexner told the Wall Street Journal in May 2014. “I made a conscious decision to follow him.”

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Abigail and Leslie H. Wexner

Columbus, Ohio

Source of wealth:
Retail (L brands)

Collecting area:
contemporary American art; Modern European art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

“When I was a kid,” Leslie Wexner told the Journal, “I could draw reasonably well, but my mother said she would only agree to let me study art if I would also take piano, so we stalemated. I never got art lessons.”