Jewish philanthropist gifts $1 billion in art to Met

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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 Braque and Fernand Léger. 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 “The Oil Mill” (1909), “Still Life with 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). — jta