NEW YORK—I knocked on an apartment door on the Upper East Side to meet Beth Rudin DeWoody, a member of the Rudin family, renowned for their New York real estate dynasty. The Rudin family also has a reputation as benefactors of New York, and New York has returned the favor: The trophy for the annual New York Marathon is named in honor of Ms. DeWoody’s grandfather Samuel Rudin, and East 52nd Street (at Park Avenue) is called “Lew Rudin Way,” to commemorate DeWoody’s father Lewis Rudin.
Why does the Rudin family have such influence in New York?
A Dazzling Art Collection
Stepping into Ms. DeWoody’s home, I felt that I had walked into an art museum ensconced in white. Everywhere I looked there were sculptures and paintings, as though on exhibition.
I was ushered into the living room, also decorated in white, which was filled with interesting art pieces and unique furniture. Through the large living room windows, I saw the East River, and despite the gloomy weather that day, the scenery was poetic.
The elegant Ms. DeWoody came to greet me and impressed me as energetic. She soon touched on her devotion to the arts:
“The Whitney Museum has been dear to my heart. I’ve been involved [in it] since 1982 with various committees. I’ve been involved in the new design of the restaurant. It’s a museum that is very innovative; it supports the young artists yet still looks back historically.”
DeWoody explained that the Whitney expansion will allow the exhibition of many art works that have been in storage because there wasn’t enough space to display them.
DeWoody’s interests are broad. She devotes energy to the arts, education, and to non-profits that she finds meaningful, and these activities have made her life very fulfilling.
Besides art museums, she is also actively involved with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The New School, Parsons School of Design, Creative Time, the Police Foundations, and New Yorkers for Children.
DeWoody’s interest in the arts began in an elementary school that emphasized them. Later in high school, she was inspired by several art teachers. Her two children are also very creative: her son Carlton is a musician, and her daughter Kyle is a stylist and interior designer.
Known locally for collecting art, DeWoody favors contemporary pieces, but also has a number of historical pieces. My favorite piece was a metal decoration designed by a French artist. Its shape looks a bit like the Arc de Triomphe, and centered on the window sill with the East River serving as its background, the scene reminded me of Paris.
Interestingly, there is a Chinese-style stone lion, which faces outside, next to the metal piece; DeWoody said that it was designed by a feng shui master.
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