Maja Hoffmann—the granddaughter of industrialist Emanuel (Manno) Hoffmann and the daughter of Daria Hoffmann-Razumovsky and legendary pharmaceutical tycoon and naturalist Luc Hoffmann—started collecting art in the 1980s in New York alongside Swiss theater director Werner Düggelin. During that time, the two obtained works from downtown darlings like Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Andy Warhol, and others. In 2012 W magazine described Hoffmann as “among the contemporary art world’s most influential patrons, though chances are you haven’t heard of her,” explaining that Hoffmann prefers to do behind-the-scenes work with artists and institutions. These institutions include the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Serpentine Galleries in London, and Human Rights Watch in New York.
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