George Blumenthal (banker)

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George Blumenthal
Born 1858
Frankfurt am Main
Died June 26, 1941(1941-06-26) (aged 83)[1]
Nationality United States
Occupation Banker
Net worth $54 million (1937)[2]
Spouse(s) Florence Meyer Blumenthal (m. 1898; d. 1930)
Mary Clews (m. 1935)

George Blumenthal (1858 – June 26, 1941) was a German-born banker who served as the head of the U.S branch of Lazard Frères.

Biography[edit]

Born to a German Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main,[3] George Blumenthal a foreign-exchange banker who had been sent to the United States by Speyer & Co.,[3] rose to prominence as the head of the U.S branch of Lazard Frères and was a partner of Lazard Frères in France. Blumenthal was president of the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York,[4] where he donated $2mil and where the Blumenthal auditorium is named after him. He was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for many years as well as president of the American Hospital of Paris. He served as the seventh president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1934 until his death in 1941, where he gave $1mil[3] and to which he bequeathed the Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco, a colonnaded Spanish Renaissance patio.[5] He retired from Lazard in 1901, giving up his seat on the stock exchange, and returned as a partner in 1906. He returned to the stock exchange in 1916, purchasing a seat for $63,000.[6] With J. P. Morgan the elder, he was one of five bankers who saved Grover Cleveland from giving up specie payments in 1896, with their $65,000,000 gold loans.[3]

His niece, Katharine Graham, in her memoir Personal History, described her uncle as a "difficult man with a big ego." He and Florence also named the Blumenthal Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which contains rare and illustrated books, manuscripts, Haggadot, as a resource for scholarly research.[7]

After the death of Florence Blumenthal, George Blumenthal married Mrs. Mary (Marion) Clews, the former Miss Mary Ann Payne of New York, and widow of James Clews, banker — in December 1935 at age 77.[8] The two later endowed the George and Marion Blumenthal Research Scholarships awarded annually for demonstrated merit in community arts leadership by the Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Who was Who in American. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1962. p. 110. 
  2. ^ Geisst, Charles R. (2004). Deals of the Century: Wall Street, Mergers, and the Making of Modern America. John Wiley & Sons. p. 119. ISBN 0471480851. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Milestones, July 7, 1941". Time Magazine, July 7, 1941. July 7, 1941. Died. George Blumenthal, 83, international banker, philanthropist, and president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; in Manhattan. Born in Frankfort on Main, he was sent to this country by Speyer & Co., later became a partner in Lazard Freres. With J. P. Morgan the elder, he was one of five bankers whose $65,000,000 gold loans saved Grover Cleveland from giving up specie payments in 1896. He gave $1,000,000 to the Metropolitan Museum in 1928, close to $2,000,000 to Mount Sinai Hospital. 
  4. ^ "MT. SINAI DEDICATES LAST 3 BUILDINGS". The New York Times, April 10, 1922. April 10, 1922. 
  5. ^ "Museums: Winging Away". Time Magazine, Feb 05,1965. February 5, 1965. 
  6. ^ "EXCHANGE SEATS $63,000.; George Blumenthal of Lazard Freres Is Back on the Board". The New York Times, March 31, 1916. March 31, 1916. 
  7. ^ "Catalogue of the Art Collection George & Florence Blumenthal". RAantiques.com. George Blumenthal was an extraordinary foreign-exchange banker who later rose to prominence as the head of the U.S branch of Lazard Freres. Described by Graham as a difficult man with a big ego, he served as the seventh President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1934 until his death in 1941. He had been one of its trustees since 1909, and had served on its executive committee since 1910. He also gave $1,000,000 in cash to the museum in 1928. He and his wife also named the Blumenthal Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which today contains more than 12,000 rare and illustrated books, manuscripts, Haggadot, and recordings that serve as a resource for scholarly research. The Illustrated Book Collection shows original work of Jewish artists and demonstrates the role of individual Jewish publishers in Jewish art publishing. Blumenthal also made contributions to the Jewish Museum in New York City. 
  8. ^ "George Blumenthal Residence, 50 East 70th Street at Park Avenue". NYC Ago, nycago.org. Archived from the original on 2013-05-30. 

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
William Sloane Coffin
Metropolitam Museum of Art by Simon Fieldhouse.jpg
President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1934-1941
Succeeded by
William Church Osborn