THE GEN­ERAL AND THE MA­JOR

They are like fire and ice, but as part­ners in life and work, the Asian art world’s golden cou­ple Maria Elena and Lorenzo Ru­dolf are the per­fect com­po­si­tion

Singapore Tatler Wedding - - SOCIETY INSIDER -

What im­me­di­ately strikes you when you first meet Lorenzo Ru­dolf and his wife Maria Elena is the cou­ple’s very dif­fer­ent sense of style and man­ner­isms. While Lorenzo, who’s Swiss-Ital­ian is in staid at­tire and has a re­served de­meanour, Maria Elena has a vis­i­bly more eclec­tic taste that one might ex­pect of a Latino. Decked out in a fiery red Zenchi gown, the Ecuador na­tive has a larger-than-life per­son­al­ity to match. It’s easy to as­cer­tain who’s more ra­tio­nal and who’s more emo­tional, too. Lorenzo de­scribes, “I have a more Ger­man part, and that part is ‘ice’. She has the Latin part, and that’s ‘fire’. What hap­pens when you bring fire and ice to­gether?”

But it’s these con­tra­dic­tions in their per­son­al­i­ties that have made their re­la­tion­ship thrive over the past 18 years. Not only are they part­ners in life, hav­ing lived all around the world while rais­ing a fam­ily to­gether, they are also part­ners at work. As co-founders of the noted Asian art fair Art Stage, Lorenzo and Maria Elena have as­sumed the roles of pres­i­dent and vice-pres­i­dent re­spec­tively. With over 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, Lorenzo over­sees the busi­ness and artis­tic side—the “brain work”, as he puts it—and de­fers to his wife when “heart work” is re­quired. Hav­ing spent over two decades in the in­ter­na­tional art scene, Maria Elena is in charge of VIP re­la­tions and or­gan­ises so­cial events for guests of the fair.

“She’s the one who brings peo­ple to­gether,” says Lorenzo. “I’d never be able to do that.” In turn, Maria Elena de­scribes her husband as “the best art fair guru in the world”.

De­spite their dif­fer­ences, the cou­ple share sim­i­lar be­liefs and prin­ci­ples. “We’re very cu­ri­ous. We’re very open­minded,” says Lorenzo. “We be­lieve in let­ting oth­ers live the way they want, and be­ing tol­er­ant and re­spect­ful.”

To il­lus­trate this, they talk about free­dom. “We fight for free­dom in ev­ery way,” says Lorenzo. “That’s the ba­sis of our com­mon ground, where we can still be in­di­vid­u­als, but we un­der­stand and sup­port each other.”

In­deed, when asked about the most ro­man­tic thing he’s done for her, Maria Elena con­fesses: “I feel free. Free to love him, to live my life, to be me,” she says.

But they are prac­ti­cal, too. “We have a clear rule about how we han­dle our mar­riage: I’m the Gen­eral and she’s the Ma­jor. I make all the gen­eral de­ci­sions, and she makes all the ma­jor de­ci­sions,” says Lorenzo. And to make that work, some may say, is an art in it­self.

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