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.
Art became the Rubells’ passion and, since that first acquisition in 1965 they’ve built one of the most significant and far-ranging collections of contemporary art in the world, now encompassing 7,200 works by more than 1,000 artists—and still growing. The collection is further distinguished by the diversity and geographic distribution of artists represented within it, and the depth of its holdings of seminal artists. In 1993, their passion became their mission with the opening of the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Art Foundation in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, which pioneered a new model for sharing private collections with the public and spurred the development of the neighborhood as one of the leading art and design districts in the U.S.