Maximum Minimalism: Emily and Mitchell Rales’s Glenstone Museum Grows
Art Business

Maximum Minimalism: Emily and Mitchell Rales’s Glenstone Museum Grows

The water court at the Glenstone Museum Pavilions. IWAN BAAN/COURTESY GLENSTONE MUSEUM Cloistered on a sylvan estate that was once used by a fox-hunting club in the wealthy Washington, D.C., suburb of Potomac, Maryland, the Glenstone Museum was for many years something of a mystery. When it first opened to the public in 2006, visits to its 30,000-square-foot Charles Gwathmey–designed exhibition building and art-filled grounds were available only by appointment, a few days a week. Its founders—Mitchell Rales, an industrialist with an estimated net worth of around $4 billion, and his wife, Emily Rales, a former art dealer—rarely spoke to the press, and they were reticent about their long-term plans. By 2013, when they announced their intention to create a second, much larger building for the museum, fewer than 10,000 people had ever visited . “It takes time to build an institution,” Emily told me recently, recalling those early years. “The intent was always there to be welcoming and to open our doors—it just took us a little while to get there.” Demand to see their formidable collection of predominantly postwar and contemporary art, which now numbers 1,300 works, ended up being enormous, she said. “It all boils down […]

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