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April 10, 2013 10:15 am

Heir to Lauder Fortune Pledges Billion-Dollar Cubist Collection to New York Museum

avatar by Zach Pontz

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Wikipedia.

Jewish philanthropist Leonard Lauder has pledged 78 cubist art works to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection, considered one of the foremost collections of Cubism in the world, is worth an estimated $1 billion and includes works by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Leger.

In a statement, Lauder, 80, said his gift was for “the people who live and work in New York and those from around the world who come to visit our great arts institutions.”

Museum director Thomas Campbell said the gift was “truly transformational” seeing as the museum had previously “lacked”early 20th Century art.  Lauder’s donation will now put the Met at the forefront of world collections.

The collection is thought to be worth around 13% of Lauders’ personal fortune according to Forbes magazine which it said “enshrines him in the pantheon of the most generous philanthropists of all time.”

Lauder built the collection, which includes 33 Picasssos, up over nearly four decades. He said he chose the Met “as the way to share this collection because I feel that it’s essential that Cubism – and the art that follows it, for that matter – be seen and studied within the collections of one of the greatest encyclopaedic museums in the world.”

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