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Est. 1902

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Betty and Isaac Rudman

Betty and Isaac Rudman

Dominican Republic

Imports and manufacturing (home appliances)

Latin American art; Numismatics; Pre-Columbian art

Overview

Dominican Republic–based collecting couple Betty and Isaac Rudman made their money importing and manufacturing home appliances. They collect Latin American art, rare coins, and pre-Columbian art, showcasing 150 pieces between their three residences, in addition to over 250 more works of art in storage in Miami. (A few were lent to an ambassador’s residence in Santo Domingo.)

Their holdings are strong in Cuban art, including 19th-century painter Vicente Escobar and early modernist artists Amelia Pelàez and Wilfredo Lam, in addition to work by other celebrated Latin American artists. They told ARTnews they consider the most valuable work in their collection to be Lam’s 1943, Le Sombre Malmebo, Dieu Du Carrefour (valued on the market for between $12 million and 15 million).

Collecting in-depth—the breadth of certain artistic practices—is one of the couple’s key focuses when it comes to adding to their holdings. That’s best exemplified by none other than Lam. The couple owns some 30 notable works by the artist, and spent approximately $1.5 million on Lam alone in 2018.

Years ago the Rudmans built an entire new house to store their works that would, in time, prove too cramped for their expansive holdings. And in 2015 Heritage Auctions presented “The Isaac Rudman Collection of Mexican Coins, Part I,” one of the finest groupings of colonial Mexican coins ever assembled, as part of its World and Ancient Coins auction at the American Numismatic Association Convention in Chicago.

“Isaac is one of the greatest collectors of Latino/Caribbean coins, artifacts, documents, currency and fine art to ever live,” Cristiano Bierrenbach, Heritage’s vice president, said at the time. 

Whatever his love for coins, when asked by ARTnews to name the most sentimental piece currently in his collection, the answer came easily: “La Perla (1950) by Rufino Tamayo,” Isaac said. His reasoning? “My mother’s name was Perla.”

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