Two private collectors are donating 130 works by major artists, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, museum officials announced this week.
The gift from Janice and Henri Lazarof includes 20 works by Picasso; two versions of Constantin Brancusi's signature bronze, "Bird in Space;" seven figurative sculptures and a painting by Alberto Giacometti; two dozen works by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger and Impressionist pieces by Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro.
"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," museum director Michael Govan told the Los Angeles Times. "This significantly expands the modern collection, where we need help."
About 80 works from the collection will go on view Jan. 13 in a new showcase for modern art, a month before the museum unveils the first phase of an expansion and renovation program that includes a new contemporary art building financed by collector-philanthropist Eli Broad.
The museum did not disclose the artworks' value.
"As longtime residents of Los Angeles, we have watched the museum being built and going through all of its changes," said Janice Lazarof, daughter of the late banker-philanthropist S. Mark Taper and president of the S. Mark Taper Foundation.
"Now there is a whole new change, and we just felt this is where the collection belonged. We wanted to do something that would bring pleasure and last for many generations in a beautiful new home," she said.
Lazarof and her husband, a veteran composer, amassed their treasure trove of works by 20th century artists, including Matisse, Georges Braque, Joan Miro and Henry Moore, over 25 years of collecting.