Top200-2015-Smidt-v2Eric Smidt may have started out small—with a fledgling mail-order hardware business—but he apparently had all the tools he needed to succeed. Harbor Freight Tools is now the largest tool and equipment catalog retailer in the United States, and Smidt is one of the country’s top art collectors, focusing on postwar and contemporary art. He is particularly interested in Abstract Expressionism, and owns pieces by Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, and Franz Kline. Smidt also serves on the boards of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Portland Art Museum. He and his wife Susan have also supported Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and UCLA.

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Eric Smidt

Location:
Los Angeles

Source of wealth:
Tool industry

Collecting area:
Contemporary art; New York School

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

Smidt is a trained airplane pilot and has more than 30 years of experience flying, according to his company biography.