Eduardo F. Costantini
Asset management and real estate; philanthropy (founder, Malba, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires)
Argentine real-estate developer Eduardo F. Costantini is deeply dedicated to promoting art and culture in Latin America. The 70-year-old is the founder and chairman of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA, for short), which is unwritten by Costantini’s namesake foundation. In 2001, Costantini donated over 220 works of Latin American art to the museum by artists including famed husband-and-wife duo Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, though he kept Rivera’s work Baile en Tehuantepec in his esteemed collection. With an estimated price of $24 million, he believes it is the most valuable work in his 600-strong holdings, but it is not the piece he is most sentimental about. That honor belongs to two pieces by the storied Argentinian artist León Ferrari.
It took Constantini five years to convince Ferrari to part with the hanging sculpture Gagarín (1961) and his intricate text work Cuadro escrito (1964). Asked about his recent acquisitions in 2019?, he mentioned Simpatía (La Rabia del gato) by the Spanish Surrealist Remedios Varo, whose fame has been on the rise of late, for a little over $3 million. (A painting by Varo was included in the rehang of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection after its expansion.) In his business career, Costantini has developed some of the most iconic buildings in Buenos Aires, including the Catalinas Plaza in 1995 and the Alem Plaza in 1998. In 2009, he started work on Oceana Key Biscayne in Miami, a project completed in 2015, where prices for condominiums topped out at a cool $19 million. The tower’s outdoor space naturally includes two sculptures by Jeff Koons, both of which residents have an ownership stake in.
Costantini’s collecting practice has helped expand the market for artists in his holdings. In 2020, he bought Wifredo Lam’s Omi Obini (1943) and Remedios Varo’s Armonía (Autorretrato Surgente), 1956, at Sotheby’s for a collected $15.8 million. The Lam work set a record for the most expensive work by a Latin American artist ever auctioned.