Billion-dollar Cubist art gift by Estee Lauder boss

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Photo: Kadellar)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Photo: Kadellar)

One billion dollars (£650m) of Cubist art has been donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by Leonard Lauder, the chairman of Estee Lauder.

The cosmetics tycoon and philanthropist has given the museum his collection of 78 paintings, drawings and sculptures by Cubist artists.

The Cubist collection, which experts have called one of the world’s greatest, includes 33 Picassos, as well as works by Braque, Léger and Gris.

Thomas P Campbell, the museum’s director said: “Leonard's gift is truly transformational for the Metropolitan Museum.”

Mr Lauder, 80, had been collection the works for 40 years. He said: “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 museum also announced a new research centre for modern art, supported by a $22m endowment fund, which is to be named after Mr Lauder.

Last updated: 10:29am, April 10 2013