George Ortiz, born May 10 1927, died October 8 2013. Read his obituary here.
It was two brilliant dealers who introduced Ortiz to the other great theme of the collection: African art — Charles Ratton in Paris and John Hewett in London . Hewett enjoyed what he called “George moments”, when the collector’s passion burst forth with the force of a hurricane. One such moment was in 1967, when Hewett invited Ortiz to dinner and put a Benin bronze head on the table. The price was a then astronomical £20,000 — but Ortiz bought it and named it “Bulgy Eyes”. He believed that it was the strongest work of art he owned.
For Ortiz, art was the answer to Gauguin’s question: ‘Who are we, where have we come from, and where are we going?’