Leonard Lauder, the 80-year-old heir to the Estee Lauder fortune, has donated $1.1 billion in Cubism art to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The collection is considered one of the world's foremost and reportedly took 37 years to amass, the BBC
reported. The 78 pieces include 33 works by Pablo Picasso, 17 by Georges Braque, 14 by Juan Gris, and 14 by Fernand Léger.
In a statement accompanying the donation, Lauder 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."
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The donation is believed to be approximately 13 percent of Lauders' personal fortune, according to Forbes magazine, which estimates his total net worth at $7 billion.
The Lauder Collection is scheduled for a fall 2014 exhibition.
According to the museum, the Met had "lacked" early 20th Century art prior to the donation.
In a museum press release
, the collection was said to be "unsurpassed in the number of masterpieces and iconic works critical to the development of Cubism."
The donation was described as "truly transformational" by Metropolitan Museum director Thomas Campbell.
"Although the Met is unique in its ability to exhibit over 5,000 years of art history, we have long lacked this critical dimension in the story of modernism,” said Campbell. "Now, Cubism will be represented with some of its greatest masterpieces, demonstrating both its role as the groundbreaking movement of the 20th century and the foundation for an artistic dialogue that continues today."
"The arts are a cornerstone of the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of the City," said Lauder in a statement accompanying his donation to the museum. "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."
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"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 20th-century art and fuel New York’s ongoing role as the art capital of the world," said Lauder.
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