Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Collector and patron with peerless holdings of modern and contemporary Latin American art

To be namechecked in a show inaugurating the expanded Museum of Modern Art in New York is no small thing. Then again, the collector (and MoMA board member) whose donations to the museum between 1997 and 2016 form this sweeping survey of Latin American art, Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction – The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift, is hardly your ordinary buyer. Her holdings, concentrating on art from Latin America, are constantly on loan, as well as increasingly being gifted directly to institutions. For example, the Reina Sofía in Madrid was given 45 works by 33 artists (all made since 1990) in March from the Phelps de Cisneros collection, a bequest that followed another donation of 202 works in January to Reína Sofia, MoMA and five other international museums. Hers is a name worth remembering for independent curators and scholars, too: Phelps de Cisneros is the purse behind various residencies and research fellowships, including the Independent Curators International’s annual travel grant.