He began collecting in the 1950s and for the next 20 years focused on American and European art. He became one of the world's most famous collectors at the time. He started to collect South Asian and Southeast Asian art in the 1970s. It was also at this time that he began to seek a permanent home for his collection. The Pasadena Art Museum, the former name of the Norton Smith Museum, approached him and he agreed to house his collection at the museum. The museum changed its name to the current one in 1974.