Arts / Museums

Mourning a Dallas Mega Philanthropist and Art Backer

The Unparalleled Legacy of Rusty Rose, a $100 Million-Plus Giver

BY // 02.02.16

The Texas art world was saddened by the news of the weekend passing of powerhouse — and beloved — patron Rusty Rose. He and his wife, Deedie Rose, were one of the three couples who transformed the Dallas Museum of Art into the bastion of contemporary activity that it is today.

In a statement, Rose’s family said “he lost his long battle with depression.”

Rose is known for, among many other things, being the co-owner of the Texas Rangers with George W. Bush. Despite overseeing the Rangers during the team’s first real success — a run that included the construction of the ballpark that the team plays in today and the first division title in franchise history — Rose liked to say that one couldn’t really own a baseball team, you could only be a “good steward” of it.

Rose’s philanthropic outlook and interests went far beyond baseball and art. He was a naturalist, an environmentalist, and an avid bird watcher who contributed generously to the Trinity River Audubon Center, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and children’s hospitals, among other causes.

The Roses’ unprecedented 2005 gift of committing their cutting-edge European, Latin American and American contemporary collection to the DMA — along with corresponding promised bequests from the Rachofsky and Hoffman collections — changed in one swoop the encyclopedic museum’s holdings, thanks to the addition of a $400-plus million trove tilted to post-war 20th- and 21st-century art.

The Roses, along with Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and Marguerite and the late Robert Hoffman, regularly appeared on the definitive Artnews Top 200 List — a guide to the most discerning collectors in the world, populated by the likes of mega collectors Michael Ovitz and Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova.

Rusty Rose’s philanthropic commitment and leadership encompassed the performing arts, too: He and his wife boldly stepped forward to support the campaign that forged a performing arts center in Dallas. In 2007, the couple donated $10 million to make possible the future AT&T Performing Arts Center, home to the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre — unveiled in 2009, both designed by Pritzker Prize winners — as well as Strauss Square and Sammons Park. The Potter Rose Performance Hall in the Rem Koolhaas + OMA-designed Wyly Theatre is named in honor of Mrs. Rose’s father and husband. She and Rusty Rose were married for 51 years, and her love of the arts drove much of the couple’s giving in this area.

Deedie Rose, whose passion for all things art had her volunteering early on as a docent at the Dallas Museum of Art, received the prestigious Linz Award in 2013 for her colossal efforts to make Dallas a better place through the arts.

PaperCity offers its sincerest condolences to Rusty Rose’s family and friends and to the numerous people and institutions he touched. Rusty Rose was 74 at the time of his death.

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