How Marc Leder, Private Equity Maven and Co-Founder of Sun Capital Partners, Got Hooked by the Art World
By Laura A. Roser
“For many years, I was two-dimensional—kids and work,” says Marc Leder, financier and Hamptons socialite. “That was my whole life up into my early 40s.”
Then Marc discovered the art scene. “It is such a different world than business and finance. It not only gives me a bit of a mental break from my work life, it also exposes me to new ideas and ways of looking at the world.”
Marc now collects art and supports various causes related to the arts. One organization he is involved with is the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which is dedicated to providing inner city youth across New York City with significant exposure to the arts, as well as to supporting emerging artists with exhibition opportunities. The nonprofit was founded by media mogul Russell Simmons and his two brothers.
Marc can also be found at a variety of art events, such as Art Basel in Miami, and he is a member of the International Council Board of the Berggruen Museum in Berlin.
“I’m still very new to the art world, and am still doing a lot of exploring and learning,” says Marc. “I look for individual works that I like rather than focus on any one artist. Everything I’m currently collecting is in the Contemporary genre, but at some point I could easily add Impressionists and Old Masters, as well.”
One artist Marc mentions is Michael Bauer. “He creates these really distinctive pieces that have a collage-like quality with abstract images alongside recognizable items and human-like figures. They’re hard to describe, but I really respond to them.
“Laura Kimpton and Alec Monopoly are two artists I also find very interesting. Laura is known for giant word sculptures—famously shown at Burning Man—and Alec uses imagery from the Monopoly game in a graffiti style. A pretty diverse group.”
Washing Away the Dust of Daily Life
Picasso once said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
As Marc mentions, art gives us a new perspective, a new way to look at the world and connect with something deep within our souls. The artist becomes a mouthpiece, involving us in his or her vision and creating a legacy by capturing a moment, a scene, an era or a feeling that will live on in the form of sculpture, paint on canvas, video or music long after we are gone.
It is this alluring quality of art that captures our attention and transcends the mundane. Surely, great businesspeople are respected for their acumen, but business schematics and spreadsheets will never be displayed on the walls of a museum and attract the same crowds as Van Gough’s Starry Night.
Throughout history, artists have depended on the support of wealthy patrons. Some of the greatest works of all time were the result of churches, the aristocracy, business tycoons or influential leaders commissioning the greats—such as Michelangelo, Raphael or Dali—to create something the world would not soon forget.
“Art, or why we like a piece of art, can’t always need to be explained” Leder said. “The feeling you get from a piece of art isn’t a rational analysis, it’s an emotional response that can re-frame your own experience and help you see things from a different angle.” It’s that change in perspective that opens his mind to all kinds of new possibilities.
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Marc J. Leder, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., has been engaged in leveraged buyouts, investment banking, and business operations for more than 25 years. Prior to co-founding Sun Capital Partners in 1995, Mr. Leder served as a Senior Vice President of Lehman Brothers in New York. Mr. Leder received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Leder is a Director of the Berggruen Museum in Berlin and Director of the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation.
Marc’s greatest desire for his personal legacy is to be an exceptional parent and to raise great children that excel at whatever they choose to do. His second priority is to be the best private equity investor he can be and serve the organizations that have entrusted him with their money. His final hope is to impact many through charitable giving.