The Neue Galerie in New York is a museum that is dedicated to exploring early 20th-century German and Austrian art. Formed by two friends who had a penchant for art appreciation and for the decorative arts, the Neue Galerie seeks to show how these two concepts intertwine through the art that the gallery displays. Since its founding in 2001, the Neue Galerie has continued to enchant visitors from all across the globe. The Galerie can be found on the Museum Mile in Manhattan, where it sits alongside other museums in the area.
In the late 1900’s, two close friends, art dealer Serge Sebarsky and philanthropist Ronald S. Lauder, bonded over their shared appreciation of German and Austrian art from the early 20th century. Ever since meeting in Serge’s Austrian and German Expressionist art gallery in 1967, the two planned to open a museum to show off what they felt was the best of the best from this period of time. In order to make this dream a reality, Serge and Lauder purchased a building on the Museum Mile, and had it renovated into a museum space. However, Serge passed away in 1996, and Lauder sought to complete the museum in Serge’s honor.
After extensive renovations, including an addition of two cafes and a bookstore, the Neue Galerie opened on November 16, 2001. The Neue Galerie worked to intertwine the decorative arts and fine art and has influences of each on both of its display floors. The second floor is dedicated to Viennese art from the early 20th century, while the third floor explores German art from the same time period. Although the museum does not attract as much attention as other museums do on the Mile, the Neue Galerie works to juxtapose an appreciation of the current locational culture, as well as to present to visitors a view of Germany and Austria that they may not initially associate with the countries.
The building that Serge and Ronald purchased for the Galerie was owned by an industrialist named William Star Miller, who commissioned for it to be built in 1914. The building company was Carrère & Hastings, which was the same company that built the New York Public Library. Eventually, the building was purchased by Grace Vanderbilt. She was the wife of Cornelius Vanderbilt III, an inventor and engineer. The building would change hands one more time as the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research purchased the building before Serge and Ronald finally bought it in 1994.