On The Avenue

When Lauders Collide

by Michael Gross Photographed by Sean Zanni and Patrick McMullan/PMC
Monday, May 7, 2018
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On a steamy Thursday night at Sotheby’s, the twelfth annual Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s Connoisseur’s Dinner in New York City raised $2.6 million for Alzheimer’s research. In a dozen years, the event has funneled $22 million into research for drugs to treat and cure the disease that currently affects six million Americans and countless more around the globe.


“Welcome to Sotheby’s on the equator,” said Leonard A. Lauder, who founded ADDF with his brother Ronald S. Lauder (who appears on the cover of this year’s AVENUE Philanthropy issue)  twenty years ago.  “At our first gala, I said my promise was that we will cure this disease. And thanks to all of you, we will do it!…We’re getting closer and closer. And there’s an incentive for me. I’m a little bit older than all of you.” Ronald Lauder added, “The bold choices we made 20 years ago have changed the face of Alzheimer’s research,” thanks to the ADDF’s $100 million in grants thusfar. “A lot of people told us we were nuts. My brother told me, ‘Nothing is impossible.”


The evening began with cocktails, as guests admired highlights of Sotheby’s upcoming spring auctions, including Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché,   Claude Monet’s Matinée sur la Seine, Pablo Picasso’s Le Repos , Georgia O’Keeffe’s Lake George with White Birch, a demure Egon Schiele, Jean-Michael Basquiat’s Flesh and Spirit, Jackson Pollack’s Number 32, 1949, and David Hockney’s Piscine de Media Noche (Paper Pool 30).  


At the dinner that followed, hosted by journalist and ADDF Board member Paula Zahn, Fabrizio Freda, President and CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies, accepted the ADDF’s Chairman’s Award. “Our company’s support of the ADDF reflects our family values,” he said, “and our belief that corporations can’t just stand aside and depend on others to change things. With a billion of the world’s people now at risk of Alzheimer’s, we have chosen to act, inspired by the vision and commitment of Ronald and Leonard Lauder.”  


As the dinner’s other entertainment consisted of wine pairings, Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine, was next to the podium to introduce the liquid components of the evening, which included a Chassagne Montrachet, a Gevrey Chambertin and a Pauillac.   


Certainly, those fine wines didn’t hurt when a brief fund-a-scientist auction commenced.  Leonard Lauder opened the bidding with a $100,000 wave of his paddle.  Barry Sternlicht, who sat with Lauder’s son William P. Lauder, the executive chairman of the family firm, followed an unidentified $50,000 bidder with another for $25,000.  


They were joined at the event by ADDF Board members Carol Seabrook Boulanger, Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, Charles Cangro, Nancy Corzine, Nancy Goodes, Dr. Allan Green, Christopher Johnson, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, Larry Leeds, Tom McWilliams, Julie Medler, Dr. Pamela Newman, Phebe Farrow Port, Sharon Sager, Sally Susman, and Stephen Toma. Additional guests included Rose Marie Bravo and William Jackey, Alina Cho, Michael Clinton, John Demsey, Paul Fribourg, Ellery and Marjorie Reed Gordon, Marlene Hess and James Zirin, Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Eleanora Kennedy, Aerin Lauder, Jane Lauder, Jo Carole Lauder, Judy Glickman Lauder, William Lauder and Lori Tritsch, Donald E. Newhouse, Barry Sternlicht, Ann and Andrew Tisch, and George Vradenburg.


 


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