To make her first art purchase—a painting by the Fort Worth artist Richard Shaeffer—Marguerite Hoffman, then in her 30s, had to set up a long-term payment plan. “I was making a tiny salary working for the Dallas Museum of Art, [and] it was the only way that I could buy something that I basically couldn’t afford,” she told ARTnews.
Hoffman, along with her late husband, National Lampoon cofounder Robert Hoffman, went on to build a substantial collection, with works by Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns, and Christopher Wool, among many others. In 2005, Hoffman added to her Dallas home an extension that is more like a private museum. Designed by architect Bill Booziotis, its centerpiece is a 70-foot-long, 22-foot-wide, and 21-foot-high gallery. “Many dealers that I work with now show me the same kind of generosity and graciousness,” she said. Now, however, “there are just more zeros involved.”
Hoffman’s concentration on Modern masters is not by chance; the intention was to create a collection that would perfectly complement the holdings of friends—and fellow Top 200 collectors—Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. Hoffman, the Rachofskys, and Dallas collector Deedie Rose have promised over 900 artworks, valued at more than $300 million and ranging from postwar Japanese artists to American contemporary sculpture, to the Dallas Museum of Art. Hoffman is a longtime patron and former chairman of the museum. In 2013 she gave $17 million to the DMA to establish the Marguerite and Robert Hoffman Fund, an endowment intended to expand the museum’s holdings of early European art.