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&W, Metropolitan 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.