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Cubist Art Worth More Than $1 Billion Donated to Met Museum

Of the more than 78 pieces donated, 33 are of works by Pablo Picasso.

Work by Picasso, Braque and Gris, among other Cubist pieces, will join the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of an estimated donation worth more than $1 billion by cosmetics billionaire Leonard Lauder.

The rare cubist collection, acquired over nearly four decades, consists of works from the founders of cubism including 33 by Picasso, 17 by Braque and 14 by Leger. 

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has more than 2 million art pieces in its inventory. (Ana Carina Lauriano/Flickr)
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has more than 2 million art pieces in its inventory. (Ana Carina Lauriano/Flickr)

Lauder, who is also a philanthropist and heir to cosmetic tycoon Estee Lauder, said, "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."
With over two million art objects in its inventory, the Met is one of the largest museums of the world, and the donation cements both the Met's global status and Lauder's place in the world of art philanthropy.

"Leonard's gift is truly transformational for the Metropolitan Museum," Thomas P. Campbell, the museum's director, said in a public statement.

"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. 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," said Campbell.

Cubism was influenced by the nonsensical Dada movement, and its avant-garde style revolutionized the 20th century art world with its multi-angular direction and its rejection of the illusion that dominated works in the 19th century.

The work of Picasso and his contemporaries explored different dimensions of their subjects and pushed the boundaries of the art world. 

"The field of cubism has been very provocative. With its clear rejection for traditional styles, you can create what you want to create... it can be something amazing," said Mo Alabi, a sophomore in the Annenberg School and Roski School.

"The whole fearlessness that is associated with cubist art definitely inspires me," said Alabi.
The massive collection, 78 pieces in total, will be available for public viewing at an exhibit scheduled for the fall of 2014. 

"Hopefully future artists will [see the paintings and] be inspired to try something new," Alabi said.

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