Mitchell Rales has been media-shy since 1985, when a Forbes article labeled him and his brother Steven as “raiders in short pants.” Shortly after then, Rales began collecting contemporary art, and his appreciation appears to be personal in nature. As Rales told the New York Times in 2012, “Back in the 1940s and ’50s artists like de Kooning and Pollock were considered outcasts and revolutionaries. My brother and I were seen as two upstarts in a world of older CEOs.” Works by de Kooning and Pollock, as well as Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, John Baldessari, Robert Rauschenberg, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, among many others, now bless the collection of Glenstone, the private museum in Maryland initated in 2006 and expanded in grand fashion in 2018 by Rales and his wife, Emily, a former Gladstone Gallery director who serves as Glenstone’s director. During the May 2019 auctions in New York, the couple snapped up Lee Krasner’s The Eye is the First Circle (1960) for Glenstone, which went for $11.7 million and shattered the artist’s previous record at auction.

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Emily and Mitchell Rales

New York; Potomac, Maryland

Source of wealth:
Global science and technology

Collecting area:
Modern and contemporary art

Top 200 appearance:
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Fun fact:

Why would Mitchell Rales dedicate milllions upon millions to Glenstone? “I don’t want to be the richest guy in the cemetery,” he told the New York Times.