Art patrons and philanthropists make this world a much better place to be. Historically, their generosity has supported the creation of the greatest works of art, and today they contribute to their promotion and conservation.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, recently announced that the MET will receive a gift of extraordinary value: Cosmetics magnate Leonard A. Lauder, one of the leading philanthropists of the United States, has pledged to give the Museum his collection of 78 works by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger, which contains masterpieces and iconic works critical to the development of Cubism.
LEONARD A. LAUDER.
The collection includes 33 pieces by Picasso, 17 by Braque, 14 by Juan Gris and 14 by Léger. Among the most valued: Picasso´s Notre avenir est dans l’air (1912), Woman in an Armchair (Eva) (1913) and Still Life with Playing Cards, Glasses and Bottle of Rum: Vive la France (1914; partially repainted in 1915); Braque´s Trees at L’Estaque (1908) and The Violin (Mozart/Kubelick) (1912); Gray´s Portrait of the Artist´s Mother (1912) and Man in a Cafe (1914); and Leger´s Houses Under Trees (1913) and Composition (The typographer) (1917-18).
The donation of this collection and the commitment to enrich it is a of great value to the Museum, but Mr. Lauder’s generosity is not over, nor did it begin here (he previously made an undisclosed donation, and has participated in other acquisitions through the Museum’s Board of Trustees, of which he is a member). Campbell said the donation “is truly transformational for the Metropolitan Museum.”
GEORGES BRAQUE. The Violin (Mozart/Kubelick), 1912.
But the Met has even more reasons to celebrate. Lauder will provide the necessary funds for the establishment of the first research center for modern art within an encyclopedic museum. The Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art will be a leading institution on Cubism and modern art. It will organize classes, workshops, bring together artists and scholars, and will fund four annual scholarships for scientific studies. In addition, the Center will include a library and an archive on Cubism, donated by Mr. Lauder.
PABLO PICASSO. The Scallop Shell (“Notre avenir est dans l’air”).
In his presentation, Mr. Lauder said: “this is a gift to the people who live and work in New York and those from around the world who come to visit our great arts institutions. The arts are a cornerstone of the cultural, educational and economic vitality of the City. I chose the MET as a way to share this collection because I feel that it is essential that Cubism – and the art that follows it, for that matter–be seen and studied within the collections of one of the greatest encyclopedic museums in the world. The MET’s collection of modernism, together with those of MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney, reinforce the City’s standing as the center of 20th century art and fuel New York’s ongoing role as the art capital of the world.”
The Lauder collection will be presented at the Metropolitan Museum of New York in an exhibition scheduled for the fall of 2014. But currently New Yorkers can view a preview of the collection with the display of Picasso’s Eva at the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing on the first floor. ■