Ronald S. Lauder, son of the legendary Estée Lauder, has amassed over 4,000 artworks spanning more than 2,000 years, from the medieval to the contemporary. He has said that he thinks of art on three levels, “Oh,” “Oh My,” and “Oh My God,” and aims to collect only the “OMG,” for which he will wait years and pay staggering sums. One of such acquisitions is the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), by Gustav Klimt, which he purchased in 2006 for a staggering $135 million—at that time, the highest price ever paid for a painting. Lauder has called the piece his “Mona Lisa.” It is currently installed at the Neue Galerie in New York, which he founded in 2001.

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Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder

New York and Wainscott, New York; Palm Beach, Florida; Paris; Vienna; Washington, D.C.

Source of wealth:
Cosmetics (Estée Lauder Companies)

Collecting area:
Antiquities; medieval art; arms and armor; Old Masters; 20th-century decorative arts; Austrian and German Expressionism; modern masters; postwar German and Italian art; contemporary art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

While attempting to install a huge Anselm Kiefer painting in his lobby, Ronald S. Lauder discovered that it was too large. Rather than select a different work, he broke through the ceiling to make room for it.