'There's a clear link between an African mask, a romantic piece of furniture and a Matisse painting. Each is mysterious and strong, two essential qualities for happiness and beauty', said Helena Rubinstein to anybody who questioned her reasoning for her love of artwork. As one of her favorite pastimes, the beauty queen relished collecting fine pieces of art and was a patron for the industry.
A woman ahead of her time
On top of being considered a bold pioneer in many fields, Helena Rubinstein also had a real passion for art and quickly became an esteemed collector. Although she was known to snap up large numbers of artwork in the blink of an eye, she did so with precision and was selective about her choices. Attracted by avant-garde pieces and African art, she was one of the first individuals globally to procure and display them in her many apartments. One of her favorite pieces was the Bangwa Queen, a Cameroonian statuette dating from the mid-18th century. Her primitive art pieces were so famous that the New York Museum of Modern Art borrowed her collection as part of a major traveling exhibition in 1935. As usual, her vision for future trends and valuable art was spot-on; African Art is now one of the most collected genres on the market.
Helena Rubinstein, the patron
The beauty expert did not consider herself a collector. She preferred to support and launch artist's careers, trusting her instincts more than what was considered fashionable at the time. Throughout her life, she created various art foundations and set aside part of her fortune for patronage. It is thanks to her donations that the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art museum opened its doors to the public in 1959 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
A patron from the very beginning, Helena Rubinstein was linked to some of the most prestigious 20th century artists, mixing her admiration of their work with true, lasting friendships. She was also the muse of many famous painters and sculptors from around the world. She expressed her passion and love of art wherever she went and in many of her own projects.