Bruce Halle, renowned art collector and founder of Discount Tire, dies at 87 [UPDATED] –

Bruce Halle, renowned art collector and founder of Discount Tire, dies at 87 [UPDATED] –

Diane and Bruce Halle.


Bruce Halle, the founder of tire and wheel retailer Discount Tire, who was known in artistic circles for his and his wife Diane’s collection of Latin American art, has died aged 87.

Halle and his wife, Diane, had been mainstays of the ART news List of “Top 200 Collectors”, having made appearances every year since 2008. Before their marriage in 1999, Diane had started a collection of Latin American art, which Bruce later supported. On the occasion of an exhibition of works from their collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 2001, Diane said of the decision to purchase Latin American works: “When I started collecting seriously I wanted to have an area that was my own, one that I could explore on my own. Bruce was also a serious collector in his own right and had sculptures by Aristide Maillol, Jean Arp and other modernist masters and old tire-related posters among his collections.

Together, Les Halles formalized the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection, which includes around 500 works by artists such as Tunga, Ana Mendieta, Hélio Oiticica, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gego, Jac Leirner, Lygia Clark and Mira Schendel.

“I am very proud to have been associated with them,” said Roland Augustine, partner at Luhring Augustine, who has been a longtime advisor to the Halle Collection. “Diane and Bruce have proven to be true patrons who remain loyal to supporting educational initiatives. They were not speculators; they weren’t buying art as an investment.

Exhibitions of works from the Halle Collection have been presented at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Phoenix Art Museum, the latter of which received money from Les Halles. Last year, after Les Halles and Discount Tire gave the institution a new grant, the Phoenix Art Museum began presenting an open-access day every month. Les Halles has also supported various exhibitions at the Art Institute, including his current retrospective Tarsila do Amaral, which travels to the Museum of Modern Art in New York later this year.

The Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation also supported the Hammer Museum’s recent exhibition “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985”, the Whitney Museum’s 2016 Carmen Herrera Survey, a traveling survey of Cuban art that spans is arrested at MFA Houston and Walker Art. Center, and the Museum of Modern Art’s Lygia Clark and Joaquín Torres-García retrospectives, among other exhibitions, and has given programs at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“Bruce was an incredible philanthropist and human being,” said Mary Sabbatino, vice president and partner at Galerie Lelong in New York, in a phone conversation. “He was loved in the art world. He had a great sense of humor. She added that the Halle Collection, with its significant holdings of works by Mendieta, Clark and others, is “the most important collection of art by Latin American artists in the world.”

Bruce Halle was born in 1930 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and spent most of his life in Arizona. In 1960, he founded a tire store in Michigan; it then became Discount Tire, the tire and wheel retailer that currently has some 950 locations. According to ForbesHalle was the 144th richest person in the United States.

“Bruce Halle and Diane Halle have been great pioneers, along with a small handful of other collections, in the United States to advance both the collection and appreciation of modern and contemporary Latin American art in this country. “said Edward Sullivan, a prominent researcher on Latin American art, wrote in an email. “Their promotion of the work of many famous and also (for many) obscure artists, and their generosity in lending to exhibitions and donating to museum collections mark this couple as crucial to the health of Southern art. the US border in all areas of the states.

Beverly Adams, curator of Latin American art at the Blanton Museum of Art in Texas, has been curator of the Halle collection for more than 15 years. Adams spoke of the couple’s generosity, well known to Discount Tire employees, in sharing the collection’s content with the public. This collection, she said, “challenged what was considered Latin American art from the perspective of many American institutions.”

“They embraced the material and amassed this collection with the idea of ​​sharing it and creating knowledge in the United States,” Adams added. “They wanted to advance the field and knowledge of this art, and open our eyes to the richness and diversity of these Latin American works.”

Maximiliano Durón contributed reporting.

Norma D. Ross