The Rubells created their collection by looking at art, talking with artists, and trusting their instincts. They started collecting 54 years ago when Don was in medical school and Mera was teaching at Head Start, and continue to follow the same practice today, now with their son Jason. They acquired their first work after a studio visit and were only able to do so by paying on a modest weekly installment plan.
What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?Mera & Donald Rubell
I wish it was a Robert Motherwell from 1964 when we started collecting.
Why do you collect?Mera & Donald Rubell
Why do people climb mountains? We collect because it’s an adventure, it’s a discovery, it’s a frontier, and there’s lots to learn.
Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?Mera & Donald Rubell
We’re attracted to art that we don’t understand because it has the most to teach us.
Do you have a personal relationship with the artists you collect?Mera & Donald Rubell
Not always, but most.
Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?Mera & Donald Rubell
We are fortunate that the gallerists and artists make available to us their best works. And it seems unreasonable, selfish, and self-defeating not to share it with the public.
Which other publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?Mera & Donald Rubell
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, Italy and Sammlung Hoffmann in Berlin, Germany.