Nanette Laitman

Nanette Laitman

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Born in 1924 in New York, New York, Nanette Laitman is a philanthropist and art collector known for supporting contemporary American craft. The daughter of pharmaceutical executive William Lasdon and philanthropist Mildred Lasdon, Laitman began collecting three-dimensional works in the 1970s, citing her parents’ interest in antique porcelain as an inspiration. She became involved at the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Arts and Design) after attending an opening party for a shoe exhibition, and she soon became a major contributor to the institution through grants from the William and Mildred Lasdon Foundation. She has been a trustee at MAD for years and served as board president in the early 2000s. Laitman is perhaps best known for her generous grant to the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. Her support set in motion a massive effort to gather and archive oral histories and personal papers from prominent craft artists. From 2000 to 2012, the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, working in partnership with MAD, collected 235 oral history interviews and acquired more than 100 personal artist files. An essential resource for scholars and aficionados, these primary source records highlight the achievements of many American Craft Council greats. In addition to her philanthropic contributions to craft, Laitman has provided significant funding for medical research, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and many other New York cultural institutions. Nanette Laitman was elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council in 2007 and completed her own oral history interview in 2009.