A Collection That Owes Its Existence to a 'Carpe Diem" Event

Show Us Your Walls
By Shivani Vora
Ellen Marmur and her art collection. Top, a decorative light fixture by Lumens (2005), and photographs, from left, Susan Paulsen’s “Katonah” (1998) and “Bedford” (1997). Credit: Kivvi Rachelle Roberts for The New York Times
The dermatologist Ellen Marmur says she has always appreciated a striking painting or photograph, but she only began collecting art seriously after she learned she had skin cancer in 2006. “When I got cancer, my philosophy became very much about ‘carpe diem’ and living my best life now,” she said. “Part of that life means collecting beautiful art because art gives me such joy.” Dr. Marmur, who recently had a recurrence of aggressive but not life-threatening basal-cell cancer, has gathered a sizable collection of contemporary paintings and photography by American artists. Many live in or around New York, including Tara Donovan, a sculptor from Brooklyn who likes to use disposable items like toothpicks and straws in her work. [More]
An untitled 1988 watercolor by an unknown artist from a street festival in Israel.Credit: Kivvi Rachelle Roberts for The New York Times
In Dr. Marmur’s living room, Chuck Close’s “Self Portrait” (2009).Credit: Kivvi Rachelle Roberts for The New York Times