Although most visitors flock to this Upper East Side mansion for the scrumptious eats at its Viennese coffeehouse Café Sabarsky, there are treats for the eyes aplenty just one floor up. Once you’ve finished your espresso with a side of Sacher Torte, sashay across the black-and-white tiled floor and wander up the magnificent marble staircase to find treasures of German and Austrian art. The history of the Wiener Werstätte, Bauhaus, Blaue Reiter, and Brücke movements is lovingly told in six full floors of art, including paintings, prints, sculpture, textiles, and photographs.
Businessman, art collector, and major philanthropist Ronald S. Lauder bought the landmark building in 1994 and quickly made it into one of the foremost collections of early-20th century masterpieces from the likes of Kandinsky, Klee, and Klimt.
If anyone had doubts about the seriousness of his intentions, they were silenced after Lauder purchased the stunning silver and gold Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer for a reported $135 million. But after you’re done gawking at the beautiful lady in the dress made of eyes, climb the stairs to the higher floors and enjoy lesser known but no-less-dazzling works and special exhibitions. The bookshop on the ground floor houses the best collection of novels, art catalogues, and historical texts on Germany and Austria to be found in New York.