Leonard Lauder gifting $1 billion in artwork to N.Y.’s Metropolitan Museum

NEW YORK (JTA) – Businessman Leonard Lauder donated a collection of paintings to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York valued at more than $1 billion.

The cosmetics tycoon’s gift includes dozens of important works by artists Pablo Picasso, Georges Braques and Fernand Leger. It includes some 78 paintings, drawings and sculptures by Cubist artists.

“In one fell swoop, this puts the Met at the forefront of early-20th-century art,” Thomas Campbell, the Met’s director, told The New York Times. “It is an unreproducible collection, something museum directors only dream about.”

The gift is considered one of the biggest single donations ever made to a museum by a philanthropist.

“Whenever I’ve given something to a museum, I’ve wanted it to be transformative,” Lauder told the Times. “This wasn’t a bidding war. I went knocking, and the door opened easily.”

According to Bloomberg News, the paintings include Picasso’s “Oil Mill” (1909), “The Fan” (1911) and “Woman in an Armchair” (1914); and Braque’s “Terrace at the Hotel Mistral” (1907), “Trees at L’Estaque” (1908) and “Fruit Dish and Glass” (1912).

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