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Top 200 Collectors

Genny Nissenbaum

Genny and Selmo Nissenbaum

Rio de Janeiro

Investments and real estate

Brazilian art; Minimalist art


“When you’re married for a long time, it’s very good to have something you like to do together,” Genny Nissenbaum told ARTnews in 2014. The successful psychoanalyst should know—she and husband, Selmo, have been together since they were teens. Having been together for decades, the two have found a common interest in collecting the work of a wide range of international and Brazilian contemporary artists, including Anish Kapoor, Fred Sandback, Sol LeWitt, José Bechara, Adriana Varejão, Os Gemeos, and Vik Muniz. Their island retreat in Angra dos Reis acts as an increasingly crowded exhibition space, hosting commissions such as an outdoor piece by Bechara. Titled Ok, Ok Let’s Talk, the piece consists of 26 tables that have been pushed together so as to trap two chairs. (It is impossible to sit in, but that is missing the point.)

The bulk of their collection is displayed in their spacious home in Rio de Janeiro. They believe in living among their art; an Ernesto Neto sculpture is suspended from the ceiling of Genny’s home office and another piece by Bechara—a painting of a flying house—is a fitting background for therapy sessions. “I like artists who really help open your mind,” she said. Their apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is similarly adorned with works by Richard Serra, Carol Bove, and Ellsworth Kelly. The two are active as museum patrons, too. Genny is on the board of trustees at the Dia Art Foundation in New York, and Selmo is helping the Museu de Arte do Rio build its collection of Judaica.