When Leonard Lauder was six he fell in love—with a postcard of the Empire State Building. That postcard was the beginning of a collection that today includes more than 125,000 postcards and counting. However, Lauder is far better known for a different group of works—the outstanding collection of Cubist paintings, sculptures, and collages that he donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013. The Leonard A. Lauder Collection includes 81 works by Picasso, Braque, Léger, and Gris and has been valued at over $1 billion. Forty years in the making, the gift is the result of a single-minded dedication to a single style of museum-quality art—a rare endeavor. As Lauder told the New York Times, “You can’t put together a good collection unless you are focused, disciplined, tenacious, and willing to pay more than you can possibly afford.”

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Leonard A. Lauder

New York

Source of wealth:
Cosmetics (Estée Lauder Companies)

Collecting area:

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

Lauder once told the New Yorker that the only person who had seen all of his postcards was his late wife, Evelyn, who called his collection “his mistress.”