LACMA receives its biggest art gift

Christmas has come early for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which has just been gifted the largest gift in its history. In an official press release, the museum announced that it will come into possession of notable works of art belonging to the billionaire philanthropist Jerrold Perenchio upon his death.
A total of 47 works have been earmarked for LACMA, purportedly worth around $500 million (approximately £315 million), under the proviso the institution fulfills its ambition of developing a new building, designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. While construction has yet to begin, 2023 has been given as completion date.
The $600 million (£378 million) project will eventually replace four of LACMA’s seven current buildings. It is expected that it will house the museum’s permanent collection, which is already one of the biggest in the world (it is made up of 110,000 works of art, artifacts and objects).
LACMA said that this gift will completely transform its collection of nineteenth and twentieth century European art. Some of its notable works include three ‘significant canvases’ by Claude Monet; the first ever Edouard Manet to feature in LACMA’s collection; and an early drawing by Pablo Picasso.
“LACMA has made tremendous progress over the past seven years under Michael Govan’s leadership, along with the support of its board of trustees and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,” commented Mr Perenchio in a rare statement. The 83-year-old businessman is known for being very guarded.
“With the newly proposed Peter Zumthor building poised to deliver LACMA through the twenty-first century and beyond, I decided now was the perfect time to announce that I intend to leave the most important part of my art collection to the museum.”
He concluded by saying that he hopes his gift will “serve as a catalyst” that inspires other collectors to similarly commit parts of their private collections to museums, where they can be enjoyed by all. They certainly have a lot to live up to if they are going to match Mr Perenchio in terms of the scale of his donation.
This is a fact not lost on Michael Govan, chief executive officer of LACMA, who said that gifts of this “magnitude” are unusual, more so with impressionist and modern art. In short, this donation, when realised, will be quite astonishing.
“2015 will be LACMA’s 50th anniversary, and it is simply astounding to see how far this museum has come in just a few decades,” he went on to say. “Mr Perenchio’s generous gift is a cornerstone of our future. Without this collection LACMA could not tell the story of Impressionism and the birth of modern art. Mr Perenchio’s artworks will become some of this museum’s greatest highlights.”
This pending gift is the latest in a series of acquisitions that have marked an extremely productive period in the museum’s history. Over the last seven years, in particular, LACMA has added 19,000 objects to its collection, which offers a sweeping history of culture from ancient times to the very present day.
Cadogan Tate can ship works of art from Los Angeles to your chosen destination anywhere in the world.