The walls of Barbara and Richard Rothschild ’78 hold old masters, modernists and contemporaries.

Barbara and Richard Rothschild '78Richard Rothschild ’78 began collecting art soon after marrying Barbara Floersheimer, who grew up with paintings by Van Gogh, Cezanne and Toulouse Lautrec. Today, the Rothschilds’ eclectic collection includes works by 19th-century French painter Camille Pissarro, and 20th-century French masters Fernand Leger, Aristide Maillol and Pierre Bonnard.

Their art collection also contains works by early 20th-century American modernists John Marin and Abraham Walkowitz. And then there’s the contemporary art that the Rothschilds have grown fond of over the past decade: a nude by Tom Wesselman, a puppy by Jeff Koons, photographs by Vik Muniz and a collage of “bling art” by Rashaad Newsome.

Richard says he was particularly struck by Newsome’s juxtaposition of objects from the hip-hop culture within the framework of a coat-of-arms, the distinctive heraldic design on tunics used to cover armor dating back to the 12th century in Europe.

“It’s very good, and kind of a cerebral thing, with the contradiction between modern culture and the older European culture,” he says.

The Rothschilds like to buy the works of younger artists, like Newsome, who have found success earlier in their careers. “We like to identify artists in their 30s and 40s who have had some shows, we think are good and have the potential to be better,” he says.

Barbara Rothschild says art displayed throughout a home warms it and reveals the personality of those who live there. She likes art in her home that speaks to her, and evokes emotion. The Rothschilds look for new pieces as a couple, and enjoy the hunt — be it in Venice, Miami or at a downtown gallery. She says those excursions can spark interesting discussions.

“Sometimes we are on the same page, and sometimes we are not,” Barbara says. “And sometimes we are very much in sync. We like finding the sleeper, the underdog, the young artist who is going to be a winner. That’s part of the fun too.”

—David McKay Wilson