How The World’s Richest Woman Spends Her Money – And Time

You may not know her name but Alice Walton is the richest woman on the planet. With a net worth in the tens of billions, Walton has the sort of financial freedom most can only dream of. Unlike the rest of the Walmart heirs, Alice spends little time working for the business and has instead headed for other pursuits. Walton’s actions are varied and have resulted in something surprising: an enormous private collection being displayed in a state of the art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

It all started with a small convenience store in Bentonville, Arkansas. It was the first store to bear Sam Walton’s name but it certainly wasn’t the last as Walton’s Five and Dime grew into Walmart. Today, the company is the world’s largest company by revenue with over 11,000 stores worldwide and its 2.3 million employees are part of the largest private workforce on the planet.

The business has remained in the family with the Walton clan owning over 50% of the company. The majority of this wealth was handed down to Sam Walton’s children, Rob, Jim, John who passed away in 2005 and, of course, Alice. Unlike her brothers, Alice doesn’t involve herself in the day-to-day running of the Walmart Empire and has, instead turned her attention to other pursuits.

Alice Walton is in a highly unique position, the same one her sister-in-law was once in. Research by Betway Casino has found that of the top 25 wealthiest people on the planet, just two are women. Alice Walton lies in 16th place with an estimated net worth of $46.2 billion while L’Oreal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is just a few places lower with what is believed to be a $42.2 billion fortune.

Alice’s passions are far from the boardroom of corporate America. She has owned a number of homes across America and has a passion for raising and riding horses. With that in mind, Walton has owned a couple of ranches in Texas, one of which was sold in 2017. Walton now owns a two-storey condo on Park Avenue in New York which, according to Business Insider, she purchased for $25 million back in 2015. She is also active politically and despite stemming from a largely Republican family, donated over $350,000 to Hillary Clinton’s Victory Fund back in 2016.

But Walton’s true passion is art. According to a 2011 interview with The New Yorker, the first piece of art which Walton purchased was a $2 dollar print of Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Nude.” She purchased it from one of her father’s stores after saving up her weekly allowance and her art collection has only grown since.

In the mid-2000s, Walton purchased Asher B. Durand’s “Kindred Spirits” from the New York Public Library for $35 million. It was a move which raised eyebrows in the art community and caused more controversy than Walton had anticipated. Bloomberg called it a “moral blight” and a Wall Street Journal article described Walton personally as a “culture vulture.”

“It hurt my feelings in a way,” Walton said in an interview with Forbes. “I couldn’t believe that a journalist could sit there and think that people in this part of the world don’t deserve good art. That is just such condescension.”

The art world’s dissent only worsened as Walton’s collection grew rapidly and her true plans were revealed. In the following years, Alice spearheaded the Walton Family Foundations involvement in opening the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a brand new gallery which opened in the family’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas in November 2011. The 217,000 square-feet complex houses over 2,500 pieces from around the world including works by names such as Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock.

“Collecting has been such a joy, and such an important part of my life in terms of seeing art, and loving it,” Walton told The New York Times. “And I was absolutely fascinated by the view of American history that art gave me. It was much more real to me, and much more closely tied to the political and social context of the country, and the changes, when I saw it through the eyes of the artists.

Today, Crystal Bridges offers free entry to its estimated 200,000 annual visitors. The gallery houses one of the most impressive collections in the country but what makes the centre unique is its location. Far from America’s art hubs, people in Arkansas won’t have to travel far to catch a glimpse of some world-famous works, something Alice Walton could never do when her father was working in his five and dime.

Thanks to Dustin

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