Leonard Lauder
Leonard Alan Lauder

(1933-03-19) March 19, 1933 (age 91)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (BS)
Columbia University (MBA)
Occupation(s)Businessman, art collector,
Known forChairman emeritus, Estee Lauder
(m. 1959; died 2011)
Judy Ellis Glickman
(m. 2015)
Children2, including William P. Lauder
RelativesRonald Lauder (brother)
Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer (niece)
Jane Lauder Warsh (niece)

Leonard Alan Lauder (born March 19, 1933) is an American billionaire, philanthropist, art collector. He and his brother, Ronald Lauder, are the sole heirs to the Estée Lauder Companies cosmetics fortune, founded by their parents, Estée Lauder and Joseph Lauder, in 1946.[1] Having been its CEO until 1999, Lauder is the chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.[2] During his tenure as the CEO, the company went public at The New York Stock Exchange in 1996 and acquired several major cosmetics brands, including MAC Cosmetics, Aveda, Bobbi Brown, and La Mer.[3][4]

In 2013, Lauder promised his collection of Cubist art to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection is valued at over $1 billion and constitutes one of the largest gifts in the museum's history.[5]

Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated Lauder's net worth at US$32.3 billion as of September 2021, the 44th richest person in the world.[6]

Early life and education

Lauder is the elder son of Joseph and Estée Lauder and the elder brother of Ronald Lauder. His family is Jewish. He married Evelyn Hausner in July 1959.[7] They had two sons, William, executive chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies, and Gary, managing director of Lauder Partners LLC.[2] He is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and he also studied at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business before serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.


He joined Estée Lauder in 1958 when he was 25.[2] He created the company's first research and development laboratory in the mid-1990s and was responsible for the company acquiring brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown and Aveda.[8] Under his leadership in the late 1980s, Estée Lauder opened its first store in Moscow with support from the Gosbank daughter the Moscow Narodny Bank Limited in London.[9]

Lauder stepped down as CEO of Estée Lauder in 1999, but remains chairman emeritus of the company and is known around the company as "Chief Teaching Officer".[8]

Lauder gained notoriety in 2001 for creating the Lipstick index, a since discredited economic indicator, meant to reflect a proclivity to spend money on luxury items even in the face of crisis.[10] For many years, he has resided on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. On January 1, 2015, Lauder married photographer Judy Ellis Glickman.[11]

Leonard Lauder, unlike his brother, supported Kathy Hochul's first campaign for New York governor in 2022.[12]

Art collection

Lauder is a major art collector (he began by buying Art Deco postcards when he was six), but his particular focus, rather than on American artists, is on works by the Cubist masters Picasso, Braque, Gris, and Léger. He also collects Klimt. Much of his art comes from some of the world's most celebrated collections, including those of Gertrude Stein, the Swiss banker Raoul La Roche, and the British art historian Douglas Cooper.[13]

In 2012, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston opened an exhibition of 700 of his postcards, a tiny part of the promised gift he has made to the museum of 120,000 postcards: The Postcard Age: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection. In an interview in The New Yorker, Lauder explained how postcards turned him into a collector, and how these "mini-masterpieces" remained his lifelong pursuit to the point where his late wife, Evelyn, called the collection his "mistress".[14] He donated his collection of Oilette postcards, published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, to Chicago's Newberry Library, and funded their digitization; the Newberry launched the 26,000-item Tuck digital collection in 2019.[15]

Lauder's interest in postcards led him to be acquainted with one of the owners of the Gotham Book Mart, a Manhattan bookstore, and he sought to help the Gotham re-establish its presence in the city when the owner had sold its long-time building and needed a new space. Lauder bought a building at 16 East 46th Street along with a partner, letting the building's storefront space to the Gotham. Later, the Gotham fell behind on rents, eventually resulting in Lauder and his partner to file for eviction. In a much-publicized closure of the bookstore, the New York City Marshal later auctioned the store's inventory, which was bought in a lot by Lauder and his partner to some protest from many other independent book sellers and collectors who were present at the proceedings and hoping to purchase some of the bibliophilic treasures.[16]


Arts and culture

Lauder has long been a major benefactor of the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1971, he joined the museum's acquisitions board and in 1977, by then president of his family's business, he became a Whitney trustee.[17] He became president in 1990[18] and has been chairman since 1994. He has donated both money and many works of art to the Whitney, and is the museum's most prolific fundraiser. His 2008 donation to it of $131 million is the largest in the museum's history.[19] Through the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Fund, he and his wife have also sponsored several exhibitions at the Whitney.[18] The fifth-floor permanent collection galleries are named for the couple. In 1998, he told a reporter for The New York Times that his "dream job" was to be the Whitney Museum's director. Most recently, Lauder gave $131 million for the Whitney's endowment.

A long-time supporter of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Lauder led the creation of a research center for Modern art at the museum, which he helped support through a $22 million endowment made alongside museum trustees and other benefactors. In April 2013, he promised his collection of 81 pieces of Cubist art,[20][21] consisting of 34 pieces by Pablo Picasso, 17 by Georges Braque, 15 by Fernand Léger, and 15 by Juan Gris to the museum; together, they are valued at more than one billion dollars.[13] It has been described by William Acquavella, of Acquavella Galleries, as "without doubt the most important collection any private person has put together in many, many years,"[22] Art historian Emily Braun, who co-organized the 2014 Met exhibition of Lauder's Cubist collection with Rebecca Rabinow, has served as Leonard Lauder's personal curator since 1987.[23]

Social causes

Lauder is co-founder and chairman of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee of the Aspen Institute, chairman of The Aspen Institute International Committee, honorary chair of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and a member of the President's Council of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital.[24] Along with his wife, Evelyn, he helped create the Evelyn H Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[25] In February 2022, he donated $125 million to University of Pennsylvania to establish a new tuition-free nurse practitioner program within Penn Nursing.[26]


Lauder's memoir, The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty was published in 2020.[27]

Awards and honors

Year Title
2003 Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, presented by Awards Council member Ehud Barak[28][29]
2017 Bronx Science Hall of Fame[30]
2019 Women's Leadership Award[31]
2020 World Retail Hall of Fame[32]

See also


  1. ^ "The Lauder Family". www.elcompanies.com.
  2. ^ a b c "Page Not Found". www.elcompanies.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. ((cite web)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  3. ^ "Investors". www.elcompanies.com.
  4. ^ "Key Moments". www.elcompanies.com.
  5. ^ Vogel, Carol (April 9, 2013). "A Billion-Dollar Gift Gives the Met a New Perspective (Cubist)". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Leonard Lauder". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  7. ^ Nemy, Enid (February 2, 1995). "At Work With: Evelyn Lauder; From Pink Lipstick To Pink Ribbons". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Leonard Lauder". Forbes. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  9. ^ Prokesch, Steven (October 7, 1990). "A Soviet Bank Takes Up Capitalism". The New York Times. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  10. ^ Scott, Fiona Sinclair (May 6, 2020). "Our grooming habits are changing". CNN. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  11. ^ Rosman, Katherine (April 29, 2015). "Beginning Again: The Love Story of Leonard Lauder and Judy Glickman". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2016
  12. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Rubinstein, Dana (November 6, 2022). "Ronald Lauder: New York's Billionaire Political Disrupter". The New York Times.
  13. ^ a b Vogel, Carol (April 9, 2013). "Cubism, Which Changed Art, Now Changes the Met". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  14. ^ Dobrzynski, Judith H. (October 25, 2012). "Leonard Lauder's Postcard Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts : The New Yorker". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  15. ^ "The Newberry Releases Digital Collection of 26,000 Early 20th-Century Postcards | Newberry". www.newberry.org. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  16. ^ Hartocollis, Anemona (September 19, 2006). "Again, Gotham Book Mart Finds Itself in Need of Rescue". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Robin Pogrebin and Timothy L. O'Brien (December 5, 2004). "A Museum of One's Own". The New York Times.
  18. ^ a b Grace Glueck (June 14, 1990). "Leonard Lauder to Head Whitney Museum Board". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "Forbes profile: Leonard Lauder". Forbes. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  20. ^ The Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  21. ^ "A Collector's Personal Perspective, A Met Exhibition Spotlights a Lauder Trove of Cubism". The New York Times. October 10, 2014.
  22. ^ "Leonard Lauder's art collection: Focus, focus, focus". The Economist.
  23. ^ Maloney, Jennifer (May 23, 2013). "The Secret Behind Lauder's Gift". Wall Street Journal – via www.wsj.com.
  24. ^ The Family Estée Lauder Companies.
  25. ^ Vanessa Friedman (December 23, 2010). "Lunch with the FT: Leonard Lauder". Financial Times.
  26. ^ Greenberg, Susan H. (February 15, 2022). "$125M Gift Funds New Nurse Practitioner Program at Penn". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  27. ^ "The Company I Keep Book".
  28. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  29. ^ "2003 Summit Highlights Photo: Members of the American Academy of Achievement, philanthropist and entrepreneur Leonard A. Lauder, and the former Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, the Honorable George J. Mitchell, at the Banquet of the Golden Plate". American Academy of Achievement.
  30. ^ "Leonard Lauder '50 and Ronald Lauder '61, Leaders of Estée Lauder come back to Bronx Science to discuss their achievements". Bronx Science.
  31. ^ "Leonard A. Lauder to be Honored with Women's Leadership Award at Lincoln Center Gala". Estee Lauder Companies.
  32. ^ "Estée Lauder Chairman Emeritus Leonard A. Lauder Inducted into the World Retail Hall of Fame". The Beauty Influencers. February 24, 2020.