|Born||March 19, 1933|
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania
Columbia Business School
|Occupation||Chairman Emeritus of Estee Lauder|
|Known for||Cosmetics, art philanthropy|
|Net worth||US$9.3 billion (March 2015)|
|Children||William P. Lauder
Leonard A. Lauder (born March 19, 1933) is an American businessman. He is the chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. He was chief executive until 1999. Today Estée Lauder operates several brands in the cosmetics industry including Estée Lauder, Clinique, MAC Cosmetics, Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox and La Mer. In April 2013, he promised his collection of 81 Cubist paintings, works on paper, and sculptures, consisting of 34 pieces by Pablo Picasso, 17 by Georges Braque, 15 by Fernand Léger, and 15 by Juan Gris, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Leonard Lauder is the son of Joseph and Estée Lauder and the older brother of Ronald Lauder. His family is Jewish. He married Evelyn Hausner in July 1959. They had two sons: William, executive chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies, and Gary, managing director of Lauder Partners LLC.
He is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and he also studied at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business before serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He formally joined Estée Lauder in 1958 when he was 25.
Arts and culture
Leonard Lauder is a major art collector (he began by buying Art Deco postcards when he was six), but his particular focus, rather than on American artists, is on works by the Cubist masters Picasso, Braque, Gris, and Léger. He also collects Klimt. Much of his art comes from some of the world’s most celebrated collections, including those of Gertrude Stein, the Swiss banker Raoul La Roche, and the British art historian Douglas Cooper.
In autumn, 2012, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston opened an exhibition of 700 of his postcards, a tiny part of the promised gift he has made to the museum of 120,000 postcards:"The Postcard Age: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection." In an interview in The New Yorker, Lauder explained how postcards turned him into a collector, and how these "mini-masterpieces" remained his lifelong pursuit to the point where his late wife, Evelyn, called the collection his "mistress."
Lauder's interest in postcards led him to be acquainted with one of the owners of the Gotham Book Mart, a well-known Manhattan bookstore, and he sought to help the Gotham reestablish its presence in the city when the owner had sold its longtime building and needed a new space. Lauder bought a building at 16 East 46th Street along with a partner, letting the building's storefront space to the Gotham. Later, the Gotham fell behind on rents, eventually resulting in Lauder and his partner to file for eviction. In a much-publicized closure of the renowned bookstore, the city marshall later auctioned the store's inventory, which was bought in a lot by Lauder and his partner to some protest from many other independent book sellers and collectors who were present at the proceedings and hoping to purchase some of the bibliophilic treasures.
Lauder has long been a major benefactor of the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1971, he joined the museum's acquisitions board and in 1977, by then president of his family's business, he became a Whitney trustee. He became president in 1990 and has been chairman since 1994. He has donated both money and many works of art to the Whitney, and is the museum's most prolific fundraiser. His 2008 donation to it of $131 million is the largest in the museum's history. Through the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Fund, he and his wife have also sponsored several exhibitions at the Whitney. The fifth floor permanent collection galleries are named for the couple. In 1998, he told a reporter for the New York Times that his "dream job" was to be the Whitney Museum's director. Most recently Lauder gave $131 million for the Whitney's endowment.
A long-time supporter of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Lauder led the creation of a research center for Modern art at the museum, which he helped support through a $22 million endowment made alongside museum trustees and other benefactors. In April 2013, he promised his collection of 81 pieces of Cubist art, consisting of 34 pieces by Pablo Picasso, 17 by Georges Braque, 15 by Fernand Léger, and 15 by Juan Gris to the museum; together, they are valued at more than one billion dollars. It has been described by William Acquavella, of Acquavella Galleries, as "without doubt the most important collection any private person has put together in many, many years,”
Lauder is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee of The Aspen Institute, Chairman of The Aspen Institute International Committee, and a member of the President’s Council of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. Along with his wife, Evelyn, he helped create the Evelyn H Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
- Forbes: "The World's Billionaires - Leonard Lauder" September 2013
- "Leonard Lauder". Retrieved 31 October 2010.
- Kent, Jacqueline C. (2003). Business Builders in Cosmetics. The Oliver Press, Inc. p. 115. ISBN 1-881508-82-X.
- Leonard A. Lauder profile on Estée Lauder Companies website
- The Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection, October 20, 2014–February 16, 2015, The Met
- Nemy, Enid (2 February 1995). "At Work With: Evelyn Lauder; From Pink Lipstick To Pink Ribbons". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Vogel, Carol (9 April 2013). "Cubism, Which Changed Art, Now Changes the Met". New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Dobrzynski, Judith H. (25 October 2012). "Leonard Lauder's Postcard Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts : The New Yorker". The New Yorker. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Hartocollis, Anemona (September 19, 2006). "Again, Gotham Book Mart Finds Itself in Need of Rescue". New York Times
- Robin Pogrebin and Timothy L. O'Brien (December 5, 2004), A Museum of One's Own New York Times.
- Grace Glueck (June 14, 1990), Leonard Lauder to Head Whitney Museum Board New York Times.
- Profile: Leonard Lauder Forbes.
- A Collector’s Personal Perspective, A Met Exhibition Spotlights a Lauder Trove of Cubism, New York Times, October 10, 2014
- Leonard Lauder’s art collection: Focus, focus, focus
- The Family Estée Lauder Companies.
- Vanessa Friedman (December 23, 2010), Lunch with the FT: Leonard Lauder Financial Times.
- Forbes.com: Forbes World's Richest People
- The Pleasure of Postcards in The New Yorker by Judith H. Dobrzynski