Retail (Gap Inc.)
Gap Inc. cofounders and art collectors Donald and Doris Fisher started their company with a simple problem: Donald could never seem to find a pair of jeans that fit at Levi’s. At the time, Donald, who died at 81 in 2009, was 40 and had no experience in apparel retailing. (He had previously worked in the family business of cabinet making and had invested in retail.) The couple’s son Robert Fisher has been involved with the clothing company for over 35 years, and in 2004 he succeeded Donald as chairman of the board of directors.
Donald and Doris Fisher started their collection with a simple promise to each other: They would never buy a work unless they both liked it. Along with his wife Randi, Robert has maintained an impressive art collection with a pronounced focus on photography. In 2010, Randi and Robert’s collection of photographs was put on display at the 28,000-square-foot San Francisco gallery Pier 24. The show, titled “From the Collection of Randi and Bob Fisher,” included work from a long list of acclaimed artists including William Eggleston, Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, and Man Ray, to name a few.
“I’ve been collecting photographs pretty consistently since 1981,” Robert told the San Francisco radio station KQED. “When I was able to buy my first piece of art, the fact that I could get something for $1,200 by an artist that many recognize as perhaps one of the great artists of the 20th century—I was hooked,” he said, referring to Evans.
Robert is also chair of the board of trustees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where his parents’ collection is on loan for 100 years. That long-term loan started in 2016 when SFMOMA reopened and the museum’s opening collection rehang included about a third of the Fishers’ 1,100-work collection. The elder couple collected heavily in blue-chip and focused on amassing deep holdings of a select number of artists, including Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Carl Andre, Frank Stella, Chuck Close, mid-to-late Philip Guston, a key Bruce Nauman flashing neon, Brice Marden, Alexander Calder, Andreas Gursky, Dan Flavin, Sigmar Polke, Agnes Martin, and more.