The Gloria Luria Collection

March 16, 2020 – October 31, 2021
Palm Desert, CA


Heather James Fine Art is proud to present selections from the collection of Gloria Luria. Luria is a pioneer of the art scene in Miami and Florida, for her collection and for her art gallery. She introduced into the region artists that are today considered icons of art history: Pat Steir, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Arakawa, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Larry Rivers, Claes Oldenburg, and many more.

The selected works from this landmark collection can be approached in many ways from a simple cataloguing of artists which would become a who’s who of art history: Lynda Benglis, Alexander Calder, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Sol LeWitt. Another approach would be to list the works in chronological order which would give us a key glimpse to art history from the 1970s to the 1990s. Starting with the abstract, welded sculptures of Anthony Caro, we can travel to the pop figuration of George Segal and Larry Rivers before ending on the conceptual and abstract painting of Pat Steir.

But, paradoxically, if we were to take a step back, we are able to dig deeper by confronting certain important questions: What does it mean to collect? How does collecting shape not just artists but the collector as well? Gloria Luria molded a fledgling art scene through her collecting. First, in providing a foundation of pioneering artists by promoting them. Secondly, her collecting provided a space within which their works could be received and understood by new audiences.

Luria’s collecting habits also showcase the increasing globalization of the art world. Landmark abstract British sculptor Anthony Caro sits side-by-side with Southern American abstract artist Ida Kohlmeyer. American Pop artist Larry rivers exists next to Australian immigrant and minimalist sculptor Clement Meadmore. The act of collecting follows a single narrative line, that is to say, one acquisition followed by the next. However, the collection as a sum is not linear, it is a fabric field composed of threads connecting the artworks and artists thematically and historically. Collecting and collections are multivalent – to speak of one idea or theme, to pick up one thread of curiosity is simultaneously to understand and speak of another interpretation.

Thus, when we speak about the collection itself – the artworks, the artists, its influences – we should also understand how collecting and collections shape the collector. As Luria once said, “Best of all, the paintings let me dream.” These artworks are not just exemplary pieces by important artists, but are part of a landmark and storied collection, and carry with them this history.

Luria has dedicated her life to fostering a thriving culture in the region from being a founding member and president of the Art Dealers Association of South Florida to helping bring the art fair, Art Miami, to the Miami Beach Convention Center. Her philanthropic generosity also extends to the performing arts, helping support Tanglewood and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the New World Symphony.