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Top 200 Collectors

A silhouetted black-and-white portrait of white woman and white man on a gray background.

Barbara and Michael Gamson

Aspen, Colorado; Houston

Energy trading

Contemporary art


Michael Gamson is a major player in the energy trading with some 40 years of experience in the industry. Barbara Goot-Gamson is a real estate professional, focusing on high-value sales, and she previously worked as a Certified Public Accountant.

Splitting their time between Houston and Aspen, the Gamsons are also major philanthropists nationally, focusing on a range of causes from education to culture. In 2007, the couple endowed a state-of the-art physics laboratories at Yeshiva College in New York to honor Michael’s father, Dr. Bernard Gamson, who was a longtime board member of the college.

Barbara is a trustee of the Menil Collection in Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Aspen Art Museum, and a National Committee Member of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 2022, President Joe Biden appointed Barbara to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts, which supports the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Cultural Center and includes members from across the country to act as “Ambassadors for the Arts” to their respective communities.

On the collecting front, the Gamsons focus on contemporary art, with a focus on women artist and artists of color. Their holdings including the likes of Rita Ackermann, Shara Hughes, Nicolas Party, Mark Bradford, Theaster Gates, Derek Fordjour, and Jason Moran.

“Meeting artists and listening to them speak firsthand about their work and their creative process is our absolute favorite aspect of collecting—it is why we made a conscious decision to collect only living artists,” the couple told ARTnews in an email interview. “We take a very long-term view on the artists in our collection, so given the much written about speculation and accelerated pace that has characterized the art market in the last few years, our hope is that amidst these taxing market demands that the artists are given time to create meaningful work.”