Lawrence Fleischman; Art Collector


Lawrence Fleischman, a philanthropist and art collector who last year gave the bulk of his private collection of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities to the J. Paul Getty Museum, died in London on Friday night. He was 72.

Officials with the Getty Museum said that they did not know the cause of death, but that Fleischman died suddenly after being stricken while in London. Earlier in the day, he and his wife, Barbara, had visited the British Museum, where he had also donated art.

Fleischman, a native of Detroit, was well-known in the art world as a collector of American art, but he and his wife sold that collection in 1966 when he became a partner in Kennedy Galleries, a New York-based American art dealership. He moved to New York in 1980 when he became chief operating officer of the dealership.

The couple then amassed a large collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan art. Elements of it were on display at the Getty in 1994, and the couple decided the museum in Malibu was the right place to display their collection.


Last year, the couple agreed to donate the bulk of the collection, and the museum agreed to purchase another portion of it. The 300-piece collection was valued at $60 million.

The gift was the largest donation of antiquities to an American museum in recent years.

Getty officials were saddened by the news of Fleischman’s death in London.

“With his wife, Barbara, he transcended the traditional role of philanthropist by also being a friend, a muse, and a mentor to so many professionals in the arts and humanities,” said Harold M. Williams, president and chief executive officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

John Walsh, director of the Getty Museum, added: “Lawrence Fleischman was a brilliant man and humanist who believe passionately in the vital role cultural institutions play in our society and in the power of art to enrich and inform modern life.”

Service arrangements were incomplete.