Leonard A. Lauder, an avid art collector and heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetic company, has recently donated his collection of 78 Cubist works valued at over 1 billion dollars to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Arts.
The collection, which was acquired over the length of 37 years, consists of 33 works by Picasso, 17 by Braque, 14 by Gris and 14 by Leger. This collection is considered one of the foremost collections of Cubism in the entire world. Director and C.E.O of the museum, Thomas P. Campbell said in a statement, “This is an extraordinary gift to our museum and our city. Leonard’s gift is truly transformational for the Metropolitan Museum”.
Lauder had said, that he decided to gift the museum with the priceless collection, because he felt it was necessary that Cubism and the art that followed it be seen and studied in one of the world’s greatest museums.
In a statement issued Lauder said, “The Met’s collection of modernism, together with those of MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney, reinforce the city’s standing as the center for 20th-century art and fuel New York’s ongoing role as the art capital of the world”.
The museum also announced that it would be establishing a new research center for modern art, which will be supported by a $22 million endowment funded by museum trustees and supporters including Lauder.
Among the collection are Picasso’s ‘The Scallop Shell’ (‘Notre avenir est dans l’air’) (1912), ‘Woman in an Armchair’ (Eva) (1913), Braque’s ‘Trees at L’Estaque’ (1908) and ‘The Violin’ (Mozart/Kubelick) (1912). The collection will be presented for the first time in fall 2014 at an exhibition.