“I like to make money,” real-estate developer Jerry Speyer told the New York Times in 1998. “But that’s only part of what makes me happy.” Another part is his art. Speyer, chairman of the board at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, has been collecting for five decades, and, while he and his wife, Katherine Farley, own a few works by “brand-name” artists like Eric Fischl and Damien Hirst, Speyer is better known for his acquisition of works by artists who are not widely known, and who have not yet been validated by critical opinion. Steering clear of auction houses, he largely buys from private dealers, choosing his artwork himself—and leaning toward the irreverent, ironic, and outré. And, although he buys and sells real estate as the market strikes him, he buys his art to hold. He might loan a piece to a friend now and then, but he never sells anything.
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