You have to eat and breathe the arts,” Louisa Stude Sarofim once said. “It’s a very important ingredient in everyday life.” Sarofim, who is the Texas heiress of the Brown and Root fortune and who was once married to Fayez Sarofim (who has also regularly appeared on the ARTnews Top 200), has taken her own advice. Since graduating from Smith College in 1956, she has been a dedicated patron of the arts and a major supporter of Houston’s ballet and art museums. As the hand-picked successor of modern-art benefactor Dominique de Menil, Sarofim serves as the chair of the Menil Collection and Foundation. In addition to her avid support of the arts, she is a collector in her own right. Her collection focuses on modern and contemporary works on paper, and her gifts to the Menil have included Ellsworth Kelly’s Tablet (1948–73), a group of 188 framed works on paper.

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Louisa Stude Sarofim

Houston; Santa Fe

Source of wealth:

Collecting area:
Modern and contemporary art; works on paper

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

Louisa reportedly received a $250 million settlement in her 1990 divorce from Fayez, a record at the time in the state of Texas, according to Texas Monthly.