: : About the Collection : : 


All of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s recognize that film and photography is our medium. Contemporary life incorporates film, photography, Virtual Reality – many things that are generationally different. In photography, art and technology are inseparable. We went from salt albumen prints, silver, platinum, then to a variety of color processes that began in the 1930s, and now to digital. Photography is the mixture of technology and artistic vision. We find that very exciting.
— Richard Sandor
 Richard and Ellen Sandor featured in   Photography: A Collector's Perspective  ,   Private Air  , Volume 4 Issue 4, Summer 2015

Richard and Ellen Sandor featured in Photography: A Collector's PerspectivePrivate Air, Volume 4 Issue 4, Summer 2015

I was showing my work in New York in the 1980s, and got Richard involved with the post-modernists. As far as the market is concerned, the value of the post-modernists is greater, but I still think it’s the historical images that are most important.
— Ellen Sandor

Richard and Ellen Sandor have been collecting photography and outsider art for over 40 years, and have amassed one of the premier private art collections in America, with over 2,500 works spanning the period from the1840s to the present. The Sandors were active collectors when photography collecting was still in its infancy.   In 1988, 2001 and 2002 the Sandors were listed by the Editors of Art & Antiques as one of "America's Top 100 Private Collectors” and have been recently interviewed in B&WMetropolitan Home, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Gallery News, and Private Air. In 2015, they were listed by newsartnet.com as one of the “World’s 12 Most Influential Photography Collectors.”

The Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection contains definitive examples of photography that are complemented by paintings, drawings, sculpture and new media artworks that drive the major themes in the collection, such as 19th and 20th Century Icons, Paris Between the Wars, the American West, Hollywood Portraits, Surrealism, Feminism, African American History, and Chinese Contemporary photography.  Unique pairings are featured throughout the collection that relate to a wide range of media, artistic processes and objects d'art. Various artworks from the Sandor’s private collection have been included in numerous exhibitions in the U.S. and internationally.  The Sandors have generously donated artworks to museums and are Major Benefactors of the Art Institute of Chicago. 


Richard Sandor is the Chairman and CEO, American Financial Exchange, LLC (AFX) and CEO, Environmental Financial Products, LLC. Dr. Sandor is the Aaron Director Lecturer in Law and Economics, University of Chicago Law School and an Honorary Professor, University of Hong Kong. He was honored by the City of Chicago for his universal recognition as the “father of financial futures”. In 2002, TIME named him “Hero of the Planet”; and in 2007, one of the “Heroes of the Environment” for his work as the “Father of Carbon Trading.”

In 2013, Richard was awarded the title of Chevalier dans l´ordre de la Légion d´Honneur (Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor), for his accomplishments in environmental finance and carbon trading. He is the author of Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation and Electronic Trading and Blockchain: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. He is a member of the Committee on Photography, Art Institute of Chicago and Board of Governors, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 


Ellen Sandor is a new media artist and Founding Director of (art)n, with works in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, International Center of Photography, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma, Smithsonian Institution, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Ellen is a Visiting Scholar of Culture and Society, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is on the Board of Directors for OXBOW, Board of Governors for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Life Trustee of The Art Institute of Chicago, and Secretary of the Board of Governors, Eyebeam in New York.  

In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and in 2013, received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2014, she received an honorary doctorate from SAIC in recognition of her achievements and was the 2016 Artist in Residence at Fermilab. In 2017, she was honored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for her longstanding commitment to integrating art and science. She is a co-editor and contributor of New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts (2018) published by the University of Illinois Press.