In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ. magazine profiled Glenstone, the private museum Mitch and Emily Rales are building in Potomac, MD. You’ll want to read the whole piece to get a sense of the size and scope of the museum but here’s reference point:
“The scale of it is kind of mind-blowing—it’s got more exhibition space than the Whitney. It dwarfs the Beyeler [Foundation],” says dealer Larry Gagosian, in reference to the Swiss museum established by the late Hildy and Ernst Beyeler. “It’s pretty much unprecedented from a private collector.”
Size isn’t the only factor. Rales became interested in collecting art when looking for a outlet beyond his business but that doesn’t mean he left his business practices behind:
With methodical precision, the Raleses have quietly assembled the largest individual holdings of works by more than 20 contemporary stars—including [Vija Celmins], Roni Horn, Martin Puryear, Sherrie Levine, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse and Jeff Wall—often spanning their entire careers. They also have important works by the likes of David Hammons, Robert Gober, Ellsworth Kelly and Jason Rhoades.
“In our businesses we like to be the No. 1 or No. 2 player in everything that we do,” says Mitch. “I would reckon to say that we are the No. 1 or 2 player in most of the artists we collect.” Emily adds, “If we know we can’t acquire a masterpiece of an artist—for example, of Barnett Newman—we won’t even go there.”