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Metropolitan Museum Of Art Decides To Disclose Gertrude Stein's Nazi Past In Exhibition

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Metropolitan Museum of Art has had a change of heart.

The museum will now add a mention of Gertrude Stein's connection to the Nazis at an exhibit of paintings she once owned.

Earlier, Assemblyman Dov Hikind pushed the issued, saying the museum had failed to inform its visitors, both at the exhibit and on their website, that Stein was a Nazi collaborator who lobbied for a Nobel Peace Prize for Adolf Hitler in 1938.

"The public has a right to know. Transparency is extremely important; historic accountability is important," Hikind told 1010 WINS. "Gertrude Stein was a miserable person who collaborated with the Nazis."

Stein and her brothers were major patrons of modern art in Paris during the first decades of the 20th Century.

Hikind said she was only allowed to remain in France and continue collecting art because she aided the Vichy government in its collaboration with the Nazis.

Hikind said people have the right to know the person behind the art and believes the museum has an obligation to inform the public how Stein came to maintain the art "while her fellow Jews were being robbed, tortured and murdered."

"It's about being honest," Hikind said. "They cannot sweep this under the rug. New Yorkers will not tolerate that."

The museum insisted the exhibition was about the collection and the works of art, not Stein.

The exhibition is about her "family's efforts to collect art principally before World War I not just before World War II," Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the museum, told 1010 WINS.

Holzer added the exhibition makes no mention of Stein's literary life, her poetry, or her sexual orientation.

"There are books available at the exhibition that discuss her politics and her literature, nobody is keeping any of this a secret," the museum said in a statement.

However, the museum now plans to add a line to the exhibit exploring how and why Stein's art collection survived World War II.

"The Steins Collect," featuring the paintings of Matisse, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso and Renoir, will remain on display at the museum through June 3.

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