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Top 200 Collectors

Neil G. Bluhm
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Neil G. Bluhm

Chicago

Real estate

Contemporary art; Postwar art

Overview

Real-estate tycoon Neil G. Bluhm has been collecting art for 25 years. With a net worth of $4 billion, according to Forbes, Bluhm has amassed a major art collection, including work by such blue-chip names as Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. 

In addition to his collecting practices, Bluhm has long been involved in supporting U.S. arts institutions. A longtime trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, he is now a trustee emeritus. He’s also  been an integral board member at the Whitney Museum in New York for nearly two decades, serving in various senior positions, including vice chairman, president, and co-chairman. 

The fifth-floor galleries of the Whitney’s new downtown location in New York’s Meatpacking district are also named in his honor. This should come as no surprise, since Bluhm was was instrumental in choosing the neighborhood for the Whitney’s move downtown, where it reopened in 2015—even amid concerns from other board members. “We made a deal for the land before the great recession of 2008, and everyone was nervous,” he told Town and Country in 2017. “But I felt the pulse of the city, with all the young people moving toward downtown.” 

On the business side of things, Bluhm is managing principal in Chicago’s Walton Street Capital, and properties under his control include some of Chicago’s most exclusive venues, including the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons, as well as holdings in Houston, Los Angeles, and even a casino in a Chicago suburb. 

Other philanthropic causes include his alma mater, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where Bluhm is a life trustee of his alma mater. In 2013 he donated $25 million to Northwestern University’s School of Law, a record endowment for the institution. “I grew up very poor,” Bluhm said in the 2017 Town & Country interview. “I haven’t forgotten where I came from, and that’s affected me in the sense that I’ve had a lot of drive to succeed, but I also haven’t forgotten those who are less fortunate.”

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