When Steven Auerbacher and his brother were about 12 and 13, their parents would drive into Manhattan from their home in New Jersey and drop them off, alternately, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. They would then go off to attend to their business, leaving the boys to explore the museums on their own—like a daytime version of Night at the Museum.
“We would roam around the museums for a couple of hours as if they were our playground,” Auerbacher recalls. “I was interested in art and my brother was interested in animals, so we would get to choose which museum to visit based on our respective interests. I was always interested in history and other cultures and particularly liked the Egyptian, Roman and Greek statuary—more so than the paintings, at that time.
“Ours was a Eurocentric home. My father was German and my mother is a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who appreciated the fine arts. She exposed us to art, theater and museums at an early age. I think my going when so young to museums developed my deeper appreciation of art in a visceral sense,” he continues. “Later, once I bought one or two paintings, the idea grew that I could own pieces and have it be part of my life. It was an evolution. I never imagined I’d have this many pieces of art. There’s been no rhyme or reason to my eclectic collecting. ”
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