Frederick Robinson Koch [1933- ]
ECA Record Control Number: 16130
Record Level: Listing
Record Type: Collector
Name: Frederick Robinson Koch
City: New York
Frederick Robinson Koch (/ˈkoʊk/; born August 26, 1933) is an American collector and philanthropist, the eldest of the four sons born to American industrialist Fred Chase Koch, founder of what is now Koch Industries, and Mary Clementine (Robinson) Koch.
Koch was born in Wichita, Kansas. His paternal grandfather, Harry Koch, was a Dutch immigrant, who founded the Quanah Tribune-Chief newspaper and was a founding shareholder of Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railway. Among his maternal great-great-grandparents were William Ingraham Kip, an Episcopalian bishop, William Burnet Kinney, a politician, and Elizabeth Clementine Stedman, a writer.
Beginning in 8th grade, Koch attended boarding school rather than living in Wichita with his family.
Frederick studied humanities at Harvard College (Bachelor of Arts 1955), unlike his father and his three younger brothers Charles G. Koch and twins David H. Koch and William I. Koch, who studied Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and pursued business careers. After college, Freddie (as he is known to friends and family) enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in Millington, Tennessee, near Memphis, and then on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. Upon return to civilian life, Koch enrolled at the Yale School of Drama, where his focus was playwriting. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the school in 1961.
Through personal and foundation acquisitions, Koch assembled large and important collections of rare books and literary and musical manuscripts, fine and decorative arts and photographs, with works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries predominating. He is reported to be a keen scholar and highly knowledgeable about his acquisitions. Among his private collections is the archival estate of George Platt Lynes and a vast archive of society photographer Jerome Zerbe.
Koch’s Frederick R. Koch Foundation is a major donor in New York to the Pierpont Morgan Library, and the Frick Collection and, in Pittsburgh, to the Carnegie Museum of Art. Of particular note are The Frederick R. Koch Collections at the Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library at Harvard University, and at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Yale president Richard C. Levin described the Koch collection as “one of the greatest collections to come to Yale since the year of its founding.”
Since the 1980s, Koch has bought, restored and maintained a number of historic properties in the United States and abroad, including the Donahue house, a Woolworth mansion in Manhattan; the Habsburg hunting lodge Schloss Blühnbach near Salzburg;   the Romanesque Villa Torre Clementina in Cap Martin, France; and Elm Court, a Tudor Gothic manse in Butler, Pennsylvania. Koch financed the full reconstruction of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theater in England from its 1879 remains, although his role as the project’s patron was kept secret for years.
In 1990, Koch bought Sutton Place near Guildford (Surrey, England), the former residence of J. Paul Getty and the legendary meeting place of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, from another reclusive art collector, Stanley Seeger, “redecorated the house and hung his art collection, but is said never to have spent a night under its roof before selling it for £32m” in 1999. Other sources say he operated it as the Sutton Place Foundation, open to the public for more than 25 years, and that he ultimately sold the property in 2005.
Koch served for many years on the boards of directors of the Spoleto Festival and The Royal Shakespeare Company. He remains an active, long-serving board member of the Metropolitan Opera and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. In 2010, The New Yorker reported that Koch had “moved to Monaco, which has no income tax”. Despite lavish philanthropy and millions spent on art acquisitions and property restoration, Koch is said to have a frugal streak, and reportedly “prefers taking the public bus in New York and typically flies commercial”, according to Vanity Fair.
Citation: “Frederick R. Koch.” Wikipedia. Updated October 21, 2016. Accessed November 15, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_R._Koch
Decades of activity:
WORKS OWNED BY EMIL CARLSEN:
Digital-born Document Number:
Digital Document Provenance:
Original compiled and researched document by the Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10011.
Creative Commons Corporation shareAlike (sa) license. Some of the information contained within this document may hold further publication restrictions depending on final use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine.
The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to U.S. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death. In other countries, legislation may differ.
Record Birth Date:
November 15, 2016
November 15, 2016