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L.A. art museum increases its large Mexican collection

Almost overnight, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has become one of the country's most important places to see Mexican art.

Last week, the institution announced the acquisition of 1,800 paintings and works on paper by 20th century Mexican artists like Jose Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera. The collection, estimated to be worth more than $25 million, is from the gallery owners Bernard and Edith Lewin of Los Angeles and Palm Springs.The Lewins have been buying Mexican art for more than 40 years They bought their first three works by Rivera in 1958. In exchange for the collection, the couple will receive an annuity of an undisclosed sum.

"These works have great significance to our population," said Graham W.J. Beal, director of the museum. "Fifty-one percent of all kindergarten students in the Los Angeles area are Spanish speaking, so there's no doubt this collection will have immediate appeal."

A special exhibition of the collection will open at the museum on Nov. 23 and run through Feb. 16.