Alec N. Wildenstein
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|Born||Alec Nathan Wildenstein
August 5, 1940
Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
|Died||February 18, 2008
Cause of death
|Occupation||Art dealer, racehorse owner and breeder|
Alec Wildenstein, Jr.
|Parent(s)||Daniel Wildenstein &
|Relatives||Guy Wildenstein (brother)|
Born in Marseille, Wildenstein was raised in New York City where his family owned and operated an art gallery. In 1875, his great-grandfather founded a business dealing in art. His father, Daniel Wildenstein, was a distinguished scholar of impressionism whose career and dominant personality overshadowed his son's achievements. Daniel Wildenstein did not think a university education was necessary for his two sons to work in the family business. Daniel Wildenstein had a passion for racehorses, which his son shared.
Upon his father's death in 2001, Alec Wildenstein inherited half of a business empire estimated at $10 billion USD and included what was believed to be the world's largest private collection of major works of art.
Alec Wildenstein enjoyed thoroughbreds for flat and steeplechase and standardbreds for harness racing. His Ecurie Wildenstein racing stable hired Elie Lellouche and Dominique Sepulchre to train his flat horses, and Jean-Paul Gallorini and Marcel Rolland for his steeplechase runners. Wildenstein raced a number of successful horses including:
- Bright Sky – won the Prix de Diane, Prix de l'Opéra
- Aquarelliste – won Prix Vermeille, Prix de Diane, Prix Ganay
- Westerner – won Ascot Gold Cup, Prix du Cadran, Prix Royal-Oak, 2004 & 2005 European Champion Stayer
- Vallee Enchantee – won the Hong Kong Vase
In 1977, his family purchased a 49% stake for Wildenstein in the 66,000-acre (270 km2) Ol Jogi Ranch on the Laikipia District in Kenya. In 1985, the family acquired complete ownership. He met Jocelyne Périsset (born August 5, 1940) when she was a guest at Ol Jogi Ranch and they were married on April 30, 1978. They had a daughter, Diane, followed by a son, Alec. Jr. Their divorce proceedings between 1997 and 1999 gained wide media coverage for revelations about the couple's extravagant spending habits and Jocelyn Wildenstein's fondness for plastic surgery. Wildenstein died at age 67 in 2008 of prostate cancer. He is survived by his two children and his second wife, Liouba Stoupakova, a native of Russia whom he married in 2000.