The Neue Galerie New York (German: “New Gallery”) is a museum of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design located at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City, United States. It is one of the most recent additions to New York City’s famed Museum Mile, which runs from 83rd to 105th streets on Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The museum was first conceived by two close friends: art dealer and museum exhibition organizer Serge Sabarsky, and entrepreneur, philanthropist, and art collector Ronald S. Lauder. The two men shared a passionate commitment to early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design. They met in 1967, just before Sabarsky opened his Serge Sabarsky Gallery gallery at 987 Madison Avenue. Almost immediately, the gallery earned a reputation as New York’s leading gallery for Austrian and German Expressionist art. Lauder was a frequent visitor and client. Over the years, the two men discussed opening a museum to showcase the very best work from the period. When Sabarsky died in 1996, Lauder chose to carry on the task of creating Neue Galerie New York, as a tribute to his friend.
The collection of the Neue Galerie is divided into two sections. The second floor of the museum houses works of fine art and decorative art from early twentieth-century Austria, including paintings by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele and decorative objects by the artisans of the Wiener Werkstaette and their contemporaries. The third floor exhibits various German works from the same era, including art movements such as Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), Die Brücke(The Bridge), and the Bauhaus. Featured artists on this floor include Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Lyonel Feininger, Otto Dix, and George Grosz. In 2006, Lauder purchased Klimt’s painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I from Maria Altmann on behalf of the Neue Galerie. Citing a confidentiality agreement, Lauder would only confirm that the purchase price was more than the last record price of $104.2 million US for Picasso’s 1905 Boy With a Pipe. The press reported the price for the Klimt at US$135 million, which would make it at that time the most expensive painting ever sold. It has been on display at the museum since July 2006.
The museum is housed in the former William Starr Miller House, a Louis XIII/Beaux-Arts structure located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 86th Street. The Neue Galerie opened there on November 16, 2001. Selldorf Architects was responsible for the complete renovation and conversion into a museum. In addition to its gallery spaces, the museum also contains a bookstore, design shop, and two Viennese cafés, “Café Sabarsky” and “Café Fledermaus”, both of which are operated by restaurateur Kurt Gutenbrunner.
Brücke: The Birth of Expressionism, 1905-1913 opened on February 26, 2009, and ran through June 29, 2009. Featuring more than 100 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, it was the first major exhibition in the United States to focus on the pioneering artists of the Expressionist group known as the Brücke. The show was organized by Reinhold Heller, a Neue Galerie board member and internationally recognized scholar of German Expressionism. The Neue Galerie was the sole venue for the show.
Alfred Kubin: Drawings, 1897-1909 opened September 25, 2008, and ran through January 26, 2009. It was the first museum exhibition of the macabre works of Austrian artist Alfred Kubin ever held in the United States. The show was organized by Annegret Hoberg, curator of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, and it included more than 100 of Kubin’s earliest works on paper.
Gustav Klimt: The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections opened October 18, 2007, and ran through June 30, 2008 and it filled all the gallery spaces in the museum. Featuring highlights from the private collections of the museum’s cofounders, it comprised eight paintings and over 120 works on paper by the Austrian avant-garde artist Gustav Klimt. The show also included an installation of the original furniture from the receiving parlor of Klimt’s studio at Josefstädter Strasse 21, and a recreation of Klimt’s masterpiece, the Beethoven Frieze.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Berlin Street Scene opened July 26, 2007, and ran through September 17, 2007. It was an exhibition focusing on a painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, which was restituted in November 2006 and which joined the collection of the Neue Galerie at the beginning of the summer of 2007. In addition to Berlin Street Scene, the exhibition featured a Kirchner sculpture, Standing Girl, Karyatide (1909–10), as well as a selection of paintings and works on paper that survey Berlin during the period; by Kirchner, Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Christian Schad.
Van Gogh and Expressionism opened March 22, 2007, and ran through July 2, 2007. It explored the crucial influence of Vincent van Gogh on German and Austrian Expressionism. More than 80 paintings and drawings were on view, including a number of major canvases by Van Gogh, as well as important paintings by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Alexej von Jawlensky, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, and others. This exhibition, organized by curator Jill Lloyd, the well-known scholar of Expressionism, filled all the gallery spaces in the museum.
Postcards of the Wiener Werkstätte: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection from October 7, 2010, to January 17, 2011. Exhibition Celebrates Gift from Philanthropist Leonard A. Lauder of Nearly 1,000 Postcards to Neue Galerie The Neue Galerie presents the first major museum exhibition ever held in the United States devoted exclusively to the postcards produced by the Wiener Werkstätte. The work in the exhibition is drawn exclusively from The Leonard A. Lauder Collection and coincides with the gift of nearly 1,000 of these postcards to the Neue Galerie.
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