Step Inside the Art-Filled California Home of Museo Jumex Founder Eugenio López Alonso
Marmol Radziner helps to bring cool, sexy modernism to the Los Angeles residence of the Mexican mega-collector
When he was a young kid growing up in Mexico City, Eugenio López Alonso begged his parents to take him to Disneyland. “It was the most incredible experience I ever had,” recalls López. “They had to drag me out of there kicking and screaming at 12 o’clock at night, because I wouldn’t leave.”
López, heir to the Grupo Jumex fruit juice empire, also loved Hollywood movies and was drawn to the Southern California lifestyle. In the mid-’90s, when he was in his 20s, López acquired his first home in Los Angeles and opened the West Hollywood gallery Chac Mool with his close friend and art adviser, Esthella Provas. Initially, they dealt in contemporary Latin American art but grew their program to encompass international and local legends like Mary Corse, Charles Arnoldi, and Robert Graham.
At the same time, López began amassing his own formidable collection, including seminal works by Ed Ruscha, Robert Ryman, and Robert Gober. “I became the collector I am when we had the gallery,” explains López, who closed Chac Mool in 2005 as he shifted greater focus to his Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo, the nonprofit he founded in Mexico City to exhibit works from his collection. He later expanded that initiative to create the Museo Jumex, which opened in a David Chipperfield–designed building in the city’s Polanco neighborhood in 2013, presenting a diverse range of contemporary art shows, including many that draw from López’s own holdings.
López has long split his time between Mexico City and L.A., and while the former is his birthplace, the latter is his spiritual home. Two decades ago, needing more space for his ever-expanding collection, he acquired a 7,500-square-foot midcentury home in Beverly Hills. Designed by architect Wayne McAllister in 1957, the low-slung house is built with Palos Verde stone walls on a lush, single-acre plot. “The moment I walked in, I had this gut feeling that this was going to be my house,” recalls López.
He enlisted Marmol Radziner, which is well known for its work on modernist homes, to undertake renovations. Along with installing limestone counters in the baths and bedrooms, the firm put terrazzo floors in the entry and the living-dining area. Outdoors, they created a stunning resort-size free-form pool just below a terrace with a crisp, geometric lily pond, additions that seamlessly blend with the soul of McAllister’s original plans.
Vance Burke Design helped oversee the furnishings, mostly modern European designs in muted finishes and plush upholsteries that mix with an always-changing array of Pop, Minimalist, and Conceptual art. In the living area, a Charles Ray stainless-steel sculpture of a nude figure seeming as if he is tying his shoe perches conspicuously beneath a spectacular black Serge Mouille chandelier. In the media room, a work by Jeff Koons and an assemblage sculpture by Rosemarie Trockel are installed next to a midcentury daybed, a walnut-and-brass table by Luisa and Ico Parisi, and another Mouille light fixture.
The residence, one of the city’s best party houses, has become a destination for the international art-circuit crowd. During the L.A. art fairs in February, one might catch an Oscar-winning actor hanging out with an ascendant Angeleno artist making drawings poolside and then perhaps congregate with other guests around the firepit in the so-called secret garden situated below Jeff Koons’s Elephant.
“The best moments in my life I’ve had in this Los Angeles house”Eugenio López Alonso
This year marks a significant milestone for López, as the Museo Jumex celebrates its tenth anniversary. The dynamic art center has given a major Mexican platform to artists such as Peter Fischli and David Weiss, James Turrell, and Urs Fischer as well as local artists whom the Fundación Jumex has supported, including Gonzalo Lebrija and Minerva Cuevas. “It has been fulfilling,” says López, who acknowledges that “it has also been a headache,” alluding in part to the resignations of two directors at the institution in fairly quick succession.
Nevertheless, López’s commitment to art is as unwavering as when he bought his first piece, a 1992 painting by the Mexican artist Roberto Cortázar. He often rotates works through his homes in L.A. and Mexico City, the latter a 16,000-square-foot modernist mansion renovated with designer Luis Bustamante. While the larger residence can hold more works and bigger parties, it is a moodier and arguably more formal affair. It also doesn’t have the soft California light that filters in through expanses of glass to illuminate works like Donald Judd’s Amber Stack in the entryway and Ruscha’s painting Virtue over López’s bed—two works that he’s never moved.
“The best moments in my life I’ve had in this Los Angeles house,” says López. With a laugh, he adds, “Mexicans are going to hate me for saying that.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2023 Spring Issue under the headline “Dash & Splash.” Subscribe to the magazine.