As owners of an international conglomerate with diverse interests, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Gustavo A. Cisneros have been collecting since 1970. Known for their foundation, based in New York and Caracas, which supports education in Latin America and scholarship worldwide, the couple has been devoted to 20th-century art of the region, showcasing it and elevating its global status alongside European work of the period, and has become actively involved in digital publishing. Their first art purchase was a geometrically abstract work made of interlocking wire mesh by the Spanish artist Manuel Rivera, titled Tiritaña. The piece became a standard for their Latin American–heavy collection, influencing later purchases of works by artists like Gego and Jesús Rafael Soto. In 2017, the couple announced that they would donate 102 works to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and establish a research institute for Latin American art at its 53rd Street campus. They also gave 119 works of Latin American colonial art to the Blanton Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, and the Museo de Arte de Lima; the gifts have been the subject of a traveling show that ends its run in December 2019. In 2018, the couple’s foundation, the Collección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, announced that it would give 202 works to six museums, with 88 of the objects going to MoMA.

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Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Gustavo A. Cisneros

Caracas, Venezuela; Madrid; New York

Source of wealth:
Media, entertainment, digital advertising, and luxury real estate

Collecting area:
Modern and contemporary Latin American art; 19th-century traveler artists to Latin America; colonial art and objects from Latin America; Amazonian ethnographic objects

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

The couple have created a website, CPPC, which serves as a hub of information on the field of Latin American art. “Our website is our museum,” Patricia said in an email interview with ARTnews.