Although Viennese industrialist August Lederer [1857-1936] and his wife Serena, née Pulitzer [1892-1943] assembled a collection of old master paintings and objects, they are best known for their patronage of the Vienese Secession artist Gustav Klimt. In 1899 Klimt painted Serena (a portrait now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), in 1914 her daughter Elisabeth, later Baroness Bachofen-Echt, and in 1915 her mother, Charlotte Pulitzer.
A portrait of the three Lederer children, Fritz, Elisabeth and Erich, is also attributed to Klimt. The Lederers assembled an enormous collection of Klimt drawings, the Monumental Beethoven Frieze (Osterreichsche Galerie, Vienna) as well as three of the Klimt paintings originally commissioned by the University of Vienna (Philosophie, Juriprudenz and Medizin; first two destroyed during World War II).
August and Serena's son Erich Lederer (1896-1985) patronized and collected the work of the artist Egon Scheile.
The Lederer collection was confiscated by the Nazis in Vienna in 1938, and stored in Schloss Immendorf in lower Austria. Most of it was sent to the salt mine in Alt Aussee in 1945 but some of the collection was destroyed in a fire at the Schloss. That part of the collection at Alt Aussee was discovered by the Allies and restituted to the Austrian government in 1947.
Dobai, Johannes. Gustav Klimt, exh. cat. Spencer A. Samuels & Company, Ltd., New York, 1974.
Nebehay, Christian M. Gustab Klimt, Egon Schiele und die Familie Lederer. Bern, 1987:11-33
Lillie, Sophie. Was Einmal War: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens. Vienna, 2003: 657-671.