Colin Gleadell tells a bit of the back story behind Alfred Taubman’s collection. Taubman was a marketer at heart. One of his main concerns was getting buyers through the door—he called it “threshold resistance”—but in his own buying, Taubman showed a level of caution:
One of the most significant, in terms of his impact on the art market, is a painting of the Moulin Rouge clown, Cha-U-Kao, by Toulouse-Lautrec that he bought at the Florence Gould sale in 1985. This sale was the first really heavily marketed sale of the modern era; Sotheby’s spent more than $1 million promoting it and entertaining wealthy potential customers who were not used to buying at auction. Among the most successful lots was the Lautrec, estimated at $1 million, but for which Taubman paid $5.3 million – a record at the time. Its new estimate is $12-18 million.
In general, though, Taubman was quite circumspect about the prices he paid, rarely exceeding the high estimate at auction and often paying less. A 1937 portrait of Dora Maar by Picasso was bought at the Gianni Versace sale in London in 1999 for £3 million ($4.9 million), well below the £4-6 million estimate. It is now estimated at $25-35 million.