Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat: Philanthropist and modern art collector


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The Independent Online

Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, who died on 18 February at the age of 90, built a billion-dollar fortune with her late husband's Argentine cement companies and became a leading art collector.

Fortabat became one of Argentina's wealthiest women at age 54, when her second husband Alfredo Fortabat, 27 years her senior, died in 1976. At the time, Argentina had just fallen under a dictatorship with close ties to the country's wealthy business élites, and the Loma Negra cement businesses flourished through government contracts with the military junta. She also inherited huge cattle ranches and properties in the US, including a Park Avenue apartment.

Maria Amalia Sara Lacroze Reyes Oribe de Fortabat Pourtale was born on 15 August 1921. Her mother's family descended from Uruguay's second president, Manuel Oribe. Her grandfather, Federico Lacroze, built the first trains in the Argentinian capital in the 1880s.

Fortabat traveled often as she expanded her art collection, which includes an Andy Warhol portrait of her, painted in the same style as his Marilyn Monroe series. Her collection grew, and in 2001 she opened the Museo Fortabat in Buenos Aires' Puerto Madero district, a modern building where many modern master works are now on public display. She sold Loma Negra to Brazil's Camargo Correa group in 2005 for around $1 billion, but remained involved in the Fortabat Foundation, a charitable organisation.