The man who bought Sotheby’s as a White Knight only to demand the firm change its forbidding manner and make itself more accessible to luxury buyers has died. Al Taubman deserves a lot of credit for creating the conditions that spawned the current unprecedented expansion of the art market. Here’s how his hometown paper started his obituary:
A. Alfred Taubman’s self-made wealth — as a pioneer who helped revolutionize how America shops — fueled a lifetime of varied philanthropy and support for civic institution and the arts, including his deep commitment to the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Taubman, the Pontiac native who helped bring malls to America and who became one of Michigan’s most important donors to museums and universities, died Friday of a heart attack in his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 91.
Taubman’s impact on Detroit and Michigan is broad and deep. He made direct donations of money and gifts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan, Lawrence Technological University and others.
“Al Taubman changed the way America shops. But his greatest legacy will be how he used his fortune to help people in Michigan and beyond,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a written statement. “He will be long remembered not just for his retail genius, but for the lives he touched through his kindness.”
Taubman: ‘His loss leaves a huge hole in our community’ (Detroit Free Press)