Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz
Key Biscayne, Florida
Coca-Cola family bottling companies in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz first met as teenagers in Havana. Both were from cultured backgrounds; Rosa’s grandfather was an architect and Carlos’s family collected art. Married since 1962, they have assembled one of Miami’s finest collections of contemporary art (including a noteworthy number of postwar German paintings).
They estimate their collection to number well over a thousand objects, and many of the works are housed in the 30,000-square-foot de la Cruz Contemporary Art Space, launched in 2009 in Miami, which is free to the public. It is a destination during Art Basel Miami Beach each December, as the space mounts several exhibitions, often highlighting the couple’s recent art purchases.
“You will see works from different artists which represent moments in the collection’s history and revisit works that are foundational to its development within the context of the present moment,” they told ARTnews in an email interview.
Their collecting seems to be in no danger of slowing down. In recent years, they have acquired large-scale works by Glenn Ligon, several abstractions by Vaughn Spann, as well as pieces by Shara Hughes, Xaviera Simmons, and Christina Quarles.
The de la Cruz collection includes works by Isa Genzken, Christopher Wool, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mark Bradford, and Peter Doig. “Our collection brings together pivotal works from artists whose practices respond to issues of identity, gender, class, power, and the values that contribute to our social fabric,” they said. “Our exhibitions are a collective effort that includes the voice of the artists.”
Carlos holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, as well as a degree in law from the University of Miami, where he is now a senior trustee. He sits on the Council of Foreign Relations in addition to holding a chairmanship at CC1 Companies, a $1-billion-per-year bottling and distribution empire. Rosa serves as director and treasurer of the same company.