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Los Angeles art museum celebrates historic donation

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has announced its largest-ever single donation: 47 pieces of art valued at $500 million. The generous benefactor is Jerry Perenchio, the former CEO of the Spanish language television network “Univision.” The artwork includes 19th and 20th century masterworks by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Rene Magritte. Many of the paintings, works on paper, and sculpture have rarely been seen in public.

At a news conference today in Los Angeles, the entertainment executive said he was inspired to make the huge donation as a way to give back to the city that made his life’s work possible. Perenchio began his Hollywood career as an agent to stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando before entering the world of film and television production.

“Gifts of this magnitude are incredibly rare, especially in the fields of Impressionist and Modern art,” said Michael Govan, the museum’s CEO and director. “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.”

LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, boasting a diverse permanent collection of over 120,000 objects from antiquity to the present day.

“A museum’s heart and soul is the art that resides there,” said Lynda Resnick, LACMA Trustee and Chair of the museum’s Acquisitions Committee. “This amazing gift gives us a reason to rejoice as our 50th anniversary approaches next year.”

The unexpected bequest will happen after the 83-year-old billionaire’s death. But there’s one caveat: The museum must first finish construction on a new building scheduled to be completed in 2023. Construction on the $600 million project has yet to begin.

In the meantime, LACMA will display select works from Perenchio’s pledged collection beginning in the spring of 2015 as part of the museum’s anniversary celebration.

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