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Judgmental, autocratic and wholly self-made after fleeing prewar Poland and the prospect of arranged marriage as a teen, Helena Rubinstein built a cosmetics empire on the notion that beauty is power.Known to all as Madame, she was a collector of African, Oceanic and Latin American art, eclectic home decor and couture fashion as the face and force of her brand for seven decades.The diminutive powerhouse from Krakow (she stood all of 4-foot-10) died in 1965 – at the age of 94, by best estimates – and is the subject of a new exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York that highlights her rise, interests and acquisitions in 200 objects.Picasso was the artist who eluded Rubinstein's thirst for portraits.Rubinstein was devastated by his death in 1956 but carried on in business until the end.Helena Rubinstein: BEAUTY IS POWER: Oct. 31 through March 22 at The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Ave., New York, (212) 423-3200 .
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