Alfred Taubman, Former Sotheby’s Owner and Philanthropist, Passes Away at 91

April 21st, 2015

Alfred Taubman, via Detroit Free Press
Alfred Taubman, via Detroit Free Press

Alfred Taubman, the shopping mall developer and business mastermind who turned Sotheby’s from a private auction house to the publicly traded art market power it is today, has passed away at the age of 91.

Taubman earned his fortune during the years following World War II, re-engineering the American retail experience through his design and development of the modern shopping mall, and used his earnings to purchase Sotheby Parke Bernet for $130 million in 1983.  Within five years, Taubman had retooled its customer experience and sales strategies before taking the company public in 1988.  

Alfred Taubman, Mayor Coleman Young and Max Fisher, via Detroit Free Press

Taubman is also remembered for his generous philanthropy, including multimillion dollar donations to the University of Michigan.  “Aside from his support, which was substantial, I never stopped marveling at his energy and his concern that others might live a better life,” said Paul Anger, editor of the Detroit Free Press. “He never stopped looking for ways to make the community better, to make lives better, to give back.”

Taubman is survived by his wife, Judith Mazor Rounick.

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