After the exceptional donation of 187 works made to France in October 2016 by the American couple Marlene and Spencer Hays, Franck Riester, Minister of Culture, is pleased to announce the second instalment of this donation, made subject to usufruct by Marlene Hays at the Musée d'Orsay.
Franck Riester would like to warmly thank the donors for their generosity: Marlene Hays, a second time made an exceptional gesture by choosing France as the destination of this collection. This new donation is a historical enrichment of the state’s national public collections».
One hundred and six new works (40 paintings, 47 works on paper and 19 sculptures) complete the first set, bringing the total donation to 293 pieces and making it one of the most important gifts in the history of the Musée d'Orsay.
Marlene and Spencer Hays began their collection in the 1970s with an interest in American painting and the evocation of Paris at the end of the 19th century by artists such as Bérard, Anquetin and Steinlen. It was in the 1980s that they discovered the Nabis, these «prophets» of modern art. The Hays then acquired major plays from Vuillard, Bonnard, but also from Denis or Ranson. After the purchase of a Pissarro, the collection includes Impressionist works (Morisot, Caillebotte, Degas, Renoir) but also artists such as Gauguin, Maillol, as well as Boldini, Tissot going until the beginning of the 20th century with Derain, Matisse and Modigliani.
The hundred or so works that Marlene Hays now offers to the national collections – perpetuating the wishes of her husband Spencer, who passed away in March 2017 – are in the same spirit. Illustrating a passion for French art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it features ten paintings by Pierre Bonnard (including Girl with a dog, 1894), nine by Edouard Vuillard (including To the divette, Cabourg, 1911-1913), three by Maurice Denis (including Noli me Tangere, circa 1891) and two paintings by Félix Vallotton (including The stove, 1892) or a very rare relief by Georges Lacombe (Le Lavoir des malheureux, 1894), brilliantly completing the representation of the Nabis. It also features outstanding works by Émile Bernard, Camille Claudel and Odilon Redon. With major paintings by Robert Delaunay (The woman with the bread, 1905), by Henri Matisse (The woman in yellow, 1923) and Amedeo Modigliani (Young woman with rose - Margherita, 1916), also affirms the opening to the 20th century, which will strengthen the link between the collections of the Musée d'Orsay and those of the Musée de l'Orangerie.
Finally, the 47 drawings in this second part of the donation introduce us to the artists' laboratory. They further reinforce the intimate dimension of the collection. Some sheets, such as an exceptional preparatory study by Manet for The Balcony, or Bonnard’s sketches, create a direct link with paintings already in the Musée d'Orsay.
Like the first part of the donation, these 106 works complete a sensitive and personal panorama, oriented towards the representation of the human figure, French art of the second half of the 19th century and the beginnings of the 20th century.
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