Neue Galerie New York
1048 Fifth Avenue (at 86th Street) November 11, 2022 – February 13, 2023
THE RONALD S. LAUDER COLLECTION
SELECTIONS OF GREEK AND ROMAN ANTIQUITIES, MEDIEVAL ART,
ARMS AND ARMOR, ITALIAN GOLD-GROUND AND OLD MASTER PAINTINGS, AUSTRIAN AND GERMAN ART AND DESIGN
Neue Galerie New York culminates its twentieth anniversary season with the opening of “The Ronald S. Lauder Collection,” a major exhibition featuring approximately 500 works from the collection of the museum’s co-founder and President, many of which have never been on public display. On view at the Neue Galerie from November 11, 2022, through February 13, 2023, the exhibition provides unique insight into one of the finest private collections in the world and introduces visitors to the mindset of a passionate lifelong connoisseur of art, whose forward-thinking vision laid the groundwork for the museum.
Developed over the course of 65 years, the Lauder Collection is defined by an absolute dedication to art of beauty, quality, and rarity. Only on one other occasion has the public had the opportunity to explore the collection comprehensively, in a special exhibition organized in honor of the museum’s tenth anniversary, which included artworks dating from the third century BCE through the twentieth century. Now, for its twentieth anniversary year, the Neue Galerie reveals the continued evolution of the Lauder Collection, including masterworks of Greek and Roman sculpture, Italian thirteenth and fourteenth century gold-ground paintings, objects for a Kunstkammer, and Austrian and German painting, sculpture and decorative arts from the early twentieth century. With a focus on important additions to the core collection, as well as new areas of inquiry, the exhibition conveys the collector’s commitment to excellence across a broad spectrum of art. Displayed throughout the museum’s two gallery floors, the exhibition situates these works in domestically scaled settings similar to how they appear in Lauder’s own home.
As described by Lauder, “In celebration of our twentieth anniversary, we are offering something that has rarely been done before—inviting our visitors to share in the full experience of my collection. Many of the works included in the exhibition appear in similar arrangements as in my home. This gives the visitor an unusual opportunity not only to see these extraordinary works of art, many of which have yet to be presented publicly, but also to experience the interactions they have with each other and the space. In essence, I am opening my doors for the public to understand the evolution of my collection. The exhibition traces why I became an art collector, why I acquired what I have, and shares these ideas with the public, which I think is a critical part of collecting and connoisseurship.
The Neue Galerie was conceived by Lauder and art dealer and museum exhibition organizer, Serge Sabarsky, to showcase Austrian and German art of the early twentieth century.
Since its opening on November 11, 2001, the museum has organized nearly 50 exhibitions exploring the complex history of this period and the various developments that emerged during that era, including Vienna 1900, Expressionism, Dada, the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), and the Bauhaus.
“The Ronald S. Lauder Collection,” along with the accompanying catalogue of the same name, illuminates the breadth and diversity of its founder’s personal collection, which extends beyond the museum’s own focus to encompass artworks from antiquity to the modern era. Lauder began collecting art at an early age and focused on works by Austrian and German Expressionists and modern masters. In the past decade, he has rekindled an earlier interest in painting by the Old Masters, which led to a newfound fascination with gold-ground paintings by artists of the Italian Renaissance. Antiquities have become another area of pursuit, which connect with the collection’s established sections of Medieval art and European arms and armor.
Among the exhibition highlights include:
A monumental head of a goddess from the Hellenistic period (ca. mid-second century BCE). With idealized features fitting for a divinity, the sculpture was once part of an acrolith—a large-scale figure, often made from wood, whose head, hands, and feed were carved from stone.
A gold-ground panel of the Madonna and Child, flanked by four angels (1348). Painted by Bernardo Daddi for the central predella, or base, of an altarpiece for the church of San Giorgio a Ruballa near Florence. The panel conveys the lyricism of the artist’s finest work, which made him among the most popular of Giotto’s followers.
The commanding oil-on-panel Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous as Electoral Prince by German Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach the Elder (ca. 1508). The fourth and last Elector of Saxony, Friedrich is depicted in a dazzling costume of red silk and embroidered fabric, adorned with pearls and sapphires.
Infantry armor (ca. 1560) crafted by the Austrian armorer Michael Witz, the Younger. This rare black and white suit is composed of a burgonet-style helmet and armor for the chest, back, shoulders, arms, gauntlets, and legs. “Black and white” armor refers to suits that use contrast between highly burnished “white” and unpolished “black” areas for decorative effect in large bold patterns over the armor. Only a few suits comparable to this survive.
A fifteenth-century Flemish tapestry from the workshop of Pasquier Grenier (ca. 1460–70). Spanning nearly 10 feet wide and 9 feet long, the wool tapestry depicts loggers at work within a lush and verdant forest.
Elizabeth Szancer, curator of the Ronald S. Lauder Collection, noted, “Ronald has always forged his own path as a collector and connoisseur. Not driven by the market, but rather by aesthetics and personal passion, his approach has been both creative and daring, resulting in a collection of some of the most extraordinary works of art across multiple disciplines and centuries. The exhibition reflects this unparalleled vision and the generosity of spirit that has guided his patronage of the arts for over six decades.”