Philanthropist and cosmetics tycoon Leonard A. Lauder has pledged to donate seventy-eight Cubist paintings, drawings, and sculptures — considered to be one of the foremost collections of Cubist masterpieces in the world — to the , the reports.
Valued at more than $1 billion, the collection includes iconic works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Fernand Léger that were critical to the development of Cubism. In coordination with the unrestricted gift, which will allow Met curators to display the works as they see fit, the museum will establish a new research center for modern art supported by a $22 million endowment funded by museum trustees and other donors, including Lauder. To be named the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art, the center will serve as a center for scholarship on Cubism and modern art and will include a library and archive donated by Lauder. In addition, under the auspices of the center, the museum will award four two-year pre- and postdoctoral fellowships annually and will invite senior scholars to work in residence at the museum. The Lauder Collection will be presented for the first time at the Met in an exhibition scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
According to the museum, Lauder decided in the 1990s that his collection should become part of a public institution and be supported with ongoing research and programming designed to keep the works continually relevant. Lauder has served on the Met's Visiting Committees for Drawings & Prints and Modern & Contemporary Art since the 1980s, and in 1984 he gave his collection of vintage American art posters to the museum. He also has served as a trustee, president, and chairman of the , to which he has donated hundreds of works of art.
"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," said Lauder. "The arts are a cornerstone of the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of the city. I selected 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 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 for twentieth-century art and fuel New York's ongoing role as the art capital of the world."