Leonard A. Lauder- Philanthropist and Renaissance Man- No Longer a Bachelor

Friday, January 9, 2015
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BFA_10469_1266773Known as one of New York’s “hottest” bachelors after the death of his wife Evelyn, the esteemed philanthropist Leonard Leonard just married his long time friend and photographer, Judith Ellis Glickman.  The very intimate New Year’s Day 2015  wedding ceremony took place at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. (Many wonder when the actual romance between the two began. Most likely they had dated for less than a year before the actual marriage took place.  In March  2014, Vanity Fair reported that  Lauder had just started dating an “attractive brunette”  shortly after splitting up  with the 50ish Linda E. Johnson, head of the Brooklyn Library. )

Perhaps far more interesting than reports on Leonard Lauder’s romantic life is the story of his philanthropy. This past April, Lauder made international headlines when he  announced his enormous pledge of $1.1 billion dollars of Cubist Art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Lauder donated 78 works by great artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Leger to one of New York’s most famous museums.  Moreover, he pledged to continue donating additional acquisitions of Cubist Art.  His objective was to fill the gap in the Museum’s own collection. Lauder wanted his gift to be “transformative ” and  was quoted as saying “it will catapult them into the 21st century.” He recognized the need to share his works of art with the rest of the world.  This billion dollar pledge of  art  had followed earlier gifts for the endowment to the Museum for the creation of a research center for modern art.  Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection went on exhibit at the Met Museum on October 20, 2014 and will remain on view until February 16, 2015.  Represented at the Met are 34 works by Picasso, 17 by Braque and 15 each for Leger and Braque.

Lauder, a long time patron of the arts, has never been a  stranger to the world of charitable giving, especially when it comes to art institutions. The Whitney Museum of Art has  been the recipient of both his  art and resources.  In 2008,  Leonard donated over $100 million to the Whitney to assure it’s long term sustainability. To date, this is the single largest gift ever received by the museum.

Leonard has also pledged his beloved collection of 120,000 postcards to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A longtime collector of postcards, his passion for them had caused his late wife, Evelyn, to refer to the collection as his “mistress”.

Lauder  has  shown his philanthropic nature in other areas besides art.  He is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and a member of the President’s Council of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. Lauder and his late wife, Evelyn, were actively involved in the creation of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Evelyn Lauder is the founder of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Leonard Lauder, New Yorker extraordinaire, was born in 1933.  He serves as chairman emeritus of The Estee Lauder Companies. Throughout his life he has also been involved in the world of  politics and education.  Lauder is often seen around New York at various charity galas including those for NY City Ballet and Metropolitan Opera.


Photo by Carly Erickson/


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