Lila’s philanthropic impulses were oriented more toward the arts. For 12 years, she served as a trustee of the Juilliard School to which she donated money to construct a library.
One of her major interests was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She donated money to Metropolitan museum and in 1983, its rich collection of Egyptian art went on permanent display in 32 galleries named in her honor.
While the Museum’s Great Hall was being restored, she came in once a week to monitor the progress. When the hall was completed, she established a permanent fund for fresh flowers in the hall. She said it gave her great pleasure to ensure that the Great Hall would always include “living beauty.”
The flowers are now designed by the museum’s in-house floral artist, Remco van Vliet. Remco Van Vliet is a third generation Dutch florist.
Mr. van Vliet's father, who had a shop that often worked for the Dutch royal family, trained his sons. Upon moving to New York City 25 years ago, Remco spent 6 years working with Chris Giftos, event pioneer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, before being given the prestigious opportunity to become his successor.
He was in charge of escorting Princess Diana for the opening of the Christian Dior exhibit at the museum in 1996. He worked with first ladies such as Bess Truman, Jacqueline Kennedy and Pat Nixon and did the floral arrangements for a luncheon for Ronald Reagan's second presidential inauguration.
Giftos also created the Elizabeth Taylor's wedding bouquet of yellow freesias.
For 10 years, artist Abbie Zabar had a ritual: go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and sketch the new floral arrangements adorning the entrance hall. Selections from her Flowers in the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art series were on view at Wave Hill in the Bronx last summer.
|Abbie Zabar , 1994 Flowers
|Abbie Zabar , 1997 Flowers