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Heirs Apparent

For mega-collector Martin Margulies’ progenies, art is where the heart is.

From left: Margulies siblings Joseph, Elizabeth and Michael are carrying on their collector father’s legacy with art efforts of their own.

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“My father would take me around his collection at a very young age and point to sculptures and paintings and say ‘Motherwell’ and ‘Noguchi’,” says Michael Margulies, the eldest son of renowned Miami art collector and real estate mogul Martin Z. Margulies. “So I was learning about art before I even learned how to do my times tables.”

Michael not only learned firsthand about art, he began a love affair with it, and by age 26, he had opened his own agency, which specializes in the representation and marketing of contemporary artists and artist estates. His goal: to get art patrons to endorse our local artists, because so many are leaving Miami to go to Los Angeles and New York, where, he asserts, the arts are more fully supported. “I’ll always be involved in the Miami art world, because I was born and raised here and The Margulies Collection is here,” he says, referring to his father’s massive collection of photography, video, installations and sculpture that covers a sprawling 45,000 square feet of exhibition space in Wynwood. “I’d like to see my agency grow to the point where my brother, Joseph, and my sister, Elizabeth, can become working partners in the company.”

That might happen sooner than he thinks if his younger siblings continue in the creative paths they’re currently in. Joseph is a graphic designer, and Elizabeth, who just appeared on season one of the Bravo reality show Gallery Girls, which chronicled a group of seven young women trying to land a job in the art world, is attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan where she is studying to become a gallerist. Both credit their father for instilling in them the importance of art appreciation.

“He has such a passion and enjoyment for art,” says Elizabeth, whose fiery persona and intense drive to succeed as she interned at Changing Our World, became a talking point among fans of Gallery Girls over the summer. “Developing a collection like his takes dedication and knowledge.”

Joseph, who reveals that he used to dabble in “street art” when he was younger, believes growing up surrounded by art has had a profound impact on his general point of view. “The way I see things is different than most,” he says. “I’m a graphic designer. We’re masters of typography, and typography is letters, and letters are language, and language is communication, and communication is what changes things and molds society today.”

At some point, the siblings seem bound to realize Michael’s dream of a joint partnership. “My brother is doing some great things with his agency,” adds Joseph. “We have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to art. He asks for my opinions. I ask for his. The good thing is, we value each other... and we learn.”

That kind of repectful synergy and appreciation for one another may just be the greatest masterpiece the Margulies siblings grow old to enjoy.