Blake Byrne, dedicated collector, philanthropist, and retired broadcast executive, has been collecting in earnest since 1988. On the advice of Jack Tilton, a long-time friend, mentor and gallerist in New York, Byrne went to Art Basel that summer and left with his first cutting-edge contemporary purchases, including works by Marlene Dumas, Juan Muñoz, Cristina Iglesias, Richard Tuttle, Mario Merz and Martin Disler. From there, he has built a collection that is both expansive and focused, maintaining strong commitments to certain artists including Marlene Dumas, Martin Kippenberger, Rita McBride, Jim Shaw, Iva Gueorguieva, Richard Hawkins, Thierry DeCordier, Paul P, Dirk Bell, Juan Muñoz, Richard Tuttle and Thomas Scheibitz.
Byrne has been an integral part of the continued growth and development of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and The Nasher Museum at Duke University, his alma mater. In celebration of his 70th birthday in 2005, Blake Byrne made a promised gift of 123 works of art to MoCA—the largest private donation in the history of the museum. Byrne’s passion for art is paralleled by his passion for philanthropy. In 1995, he founded The Skylark Foundation, a philanthropic family foundation that is committed to encouraging innovation, striving for social justice and supporting diversity.
Photo courtesy of Alan Shaffer
Pink Pearl Eraser, 1966-67
Estimate: 180,000 - 250,000 USD
When you were in 4th grade, did you ever think that your Pink Pearl eraser would be made in to an art piece now selling for about $200,000?
Small Equivalent 2, 1975
Estimate: 50,000 - 70,000 USD
I’m so used to seeing Carl Andre’s work on the floor. Wouldn’t it be fun to have one small enough to be on the table next to your favorite chair.
Giraffe, circa 1947
Estimate: 250,000 - 350,000 USD
90% of giraffes are believed to be gay. Did Calder not get the message?