Yes, the Lauders have been collecting Medieval Arms for years. And yes, some of their Collection is on loan to The Cloisters. It is a rarefied field of collecting and quite a relief from the usual “tout le Louis” and “Georgie I – III” accumulations that uberrich New Yorkers engage in.
Helena Rubinstein, on the other hand, had fantastic Picassos, Kandinskys, and other modern masters. Also great tribal art. I still salivate over Helena’s pictures — by Henry Clarke and Horst in the 1950s — with her Russian prince in her rooms of great and almost unparalleled sophistication.
There’s an article in the 15 Jan 2007 issue of The New Yorker about Ron Lauder, philanthropist, au bon vivant scion of the (Estee) Lauder Cosmetics empire. Apparently he owns some of the armor and medieval arms collection on display at The Cloisters. Seems he is refurbishing his late mom’s townhouse on East 70th Street, between Park and Madison Aves., as a private museum to house the medieval arms collection (the largest of its kind in private hands) for dinners and functions. It appears the late Estee far outdid her rival, the other mittel-European pancake queen, Helena Rubinstein, in providing all that pancro and face-masques for beautiful and less-than faces the world over, Manila included.
Interesting article about a seemingly generous aesthete without too many pretensions and airs, and from whom a lot of Manila contemporaries could learn a thing or two. Most of them, it appears to me, seem to have graduated from the Leona Helmsley School of Civics!!! Bwaahhh!!