Frederick Koch and Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, in 1986. (Reuters: Peter Skingley)
Frederick Koch, who kept a low profile as an arts benefactor rather than joining the family oil business that became Koch Industries, has died, according to the New York Times.
- The eldest Koch brother used his wealth to support a career as an arts benefactor
- His collection included Marie Antoinette’s canopied bed and a 150-room castle in Austria
- His estate will be used to establish a foundation to promote the study of literature, history and the arts
He was 86.
His friend and long-time assistant John Olsen told the newspaper Mr Koch died at his Manhattan home on Wednesday (local time) of heart failure.
Mr Koch was the oldest of four sons of Fred Koch of Wichita, Kansas.
His high-profile billionaire younger brothers, Charles and David, ran Koch Industries and bankrolled libertarian causes, but Frederick rarely saw them and preferred to live in relative anonymity, according to the Times.
Mr Koch used his share of the family wealth to support a career as a benefactor of the arts and historic preservation.
He amassed extensive collections of rare books, musical manuscripts and fine and decorative arts, including Marie Antoinette’s canopied bed.
His collection of manor houses included a 150-room castle in Austria once owned by Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which Koch used for decades as a summer retreat.
In 1986, Mr Koch stood beside Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the new $US2.8 million ($4.16 million) Swan Theatre he had built for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, in England.
The Queen thanked the “generous benefactor” but did not name him, respecting his wish for privacy.
Mr Olsen said Mr Koch’s entire estate will be used to establish a foundation to promote the study of literature, history and the arts.
Mr Koch’s brother David died in August last year.