Yesterday was an exciting and historic moment for the Met, as we announced the gift of Leonard Lauder's unrivaled collection of seventy-eight Cubist paintings to the Museum. This is among the greatest contributions to the Metropolitan in the course of its 143-year evolution, in the same league as gifts from J.P. Morgan, Louisine and H.O. Havemeyer, Benjamin Altman, Robert Lehman, Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, and Walter Annenberg—truly transformative collections that have come to the Met.
As we look to the future, this magnificent group of Cubist pictures not only fills an enormous gap in our holdings, but also puts so much else into focus throughout the Museum. The potential is extraordinary, and the establishment of a new research center for modernism will allow us to pursue all those possibilities with significant and broad-reaching scholarship. That is the great benefit of an encyclopedic collection, and, when combined with the vision of a collector like Leonard, the result is an incredible legacy for generations of Met visitors.