The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has announced a gift of more than one hundred and thirty works of art worth an estimated $100 million from Los Angeles collectors Janice and Henri Lazarof.
The Lazarofs have maintained an unusually low profile in art circles, despite having collected works by a veritable Who's Who of twentieth-century artists. Their gift includes twenty works by Pablo Picasso spanning sixty-five years, seven figurative sculptures and a painting by Alberto Giacometti, two versions of Constantin Brancusi's "Bird in Space" sculpture, and about two dozen works by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Lyonel Feininger. The works are primarily Modernist, although the collection includes some Impressionist pieces by Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro.
The fractional gift makes LACMA a part owner of each piece, with remaining shares to be given over time. About eighty works from the collection will go on view January 13, a month before the museum unveils the first phase of an ambitious expansion and renovation effort that includes a new contemporary art building financed by Los Angeles collector and philanthropist Eli Broad.
"It's a major deal to get this work in one fell swoop, at a time when the art market has made it nearly impossible for museums to purchase work of this quality," said LACMA director Michael Govan. "This significantly expands the modern collection, where we need help. We have major works and landmark things like the Robert Rifkind collection of German Expressionism, but we don't have the richness and depth of modern art that you expect of a museum of this scale. This gift doesn't complete the picture, but it adds a lot."