Eli and Edythe L. Broad have been married for more than six decades, and have spent almost as much time working fiercely to transform Los Angeles into a cultural capital. Eli founded the Broad Foundation, essentially a lending library of important contemporary artworks, in 1984. His $140 million private museum in downtown L.A., the Broad, was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and opened in September 2015; it shows pieces from the Foundation’s collection, which includes more than 2,000 works, by such artists as Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol. The Broads also helped fund the Zaha Hadid–designed Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, Eli’s alma mater, to the tune of $28 million, and have given $60 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to create the Renzo Piano–designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum. A voracious collector, one of Eli’s most noteworthy purchases over the past few years was Sam Francis’s painting Summer #1 (1957) from Sotheby’s in May 2016. The $11.8 million winning bid set a new record for Francis’s work at auction. ARTnews reported from the sale: “Broad explained that he had ‘five, maybe six’ works by Francis already, but came to Sotheby’s looking to leave with another.” Eli is known for his hard-driving style when it comes to business and philanthropic donations. According to a 2010 New Yorker profile, he once quipped, in response to someone criticizing his toughness, “You want nice, call Edye!” In 2017, Eli announced that he was retiring from philanthropy.
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