The most important collection of impressionist paintings in the world grows. It is by a phone call from a notary that the musée d’orsay has learned in the beginning of the year he “inherited” five works of Gustave Caillebotte, famous for its Raboteurs de parquet . These three paintings and two pastels were tucked away for years in an apartment in Levallois, west Paris. Mary-Jane Daurelle, great-granddaughter of the master of hotel of the impressionist painter (1848-1894).

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who Died in December, this octogenarian without an heir had decided to bequeath all his property to the foundation Apprentices of Auteuil, with the exception of five works of Caillebotte that it had always been. They had an intimate character for Ms. Daurelle, since they were portraits of his great-grand-father and his grand-father.

“It is a story extremely touching, which is made in the discretion. It was a lady very discrete who was living with her works”, emphasizes the director of the museum Laurence des Cars, who has welcomed the news “with joy”.

“Several million euros”

Thanks to this donation, musée d’orsay, which housed the seven works of the painter, almost double its collection. “These are not things that we would have been able to offer,” says one in-house, evoking a whole estimated at “several million euros”. Emissaries were quickly made in the apartment of Mrs. Daurelle with an auctioneer and have discovered these works hung simply on the wall, as reported in The new yorker .

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Since the announcement of this legacy, “it was certain that it was the works of Caillebotte. They were paintings listed in the catalogue raisonné” of the artist, also known to have been a protector of the impressionists and a huge collector, ” continues Ms. of the Cars. Up to this incredible donation, the last work of the painter to be entered in the collections of the State was its self-Portrait late , acquired by pre-emption in public sale in 1971.

This gift is to’orsay is even more “incredible” that no prior contact had taken place with the family Daurelle. The existence of these paintings, however, was known since the large retrospective devoted to the painter at the Grand palais in 1994/1995, and they also had been loaned for exhibitions, points out the institution.

“museums depend on the generosity,”

Exposed from Tuesday in the gallery of impressionist (room 31) of the museum, not far from the famous Raboteurs de parquet , these works can be admired by the visitors: it is flowering Tree , Portrait of Jean Daurelle (bust), Portrait of Jean Daurelle (in the foot) and for the pastels Portrait of Camille Daurelle and Portrait of Camille Daurelle in the park of Yerres .

For art lovers, these paintings – where the butler is portrayed in the bourgeois – turned their time, said Ms. car, evoking both the recognition of the artist in respect of his employees and the social progression of the family, outcome of the rural world. Another specificity of these works: the use of pastel as with Degas or Manet for portraits of children, “may be the most valuable of this legacy.”

“For us, it is an opportunity to highlight how the museums depend on the generosity,” says one in Orsay, already spoiled with the donation incredible torque Hays, collectors texans, fell in love with French painting of the late Nineteenth and the early Twentieth, and in particular the nabis. After a first donation of 2016, Marlene Hays, now a widow, was bequeathed to the beginning of July, a hundred works of art, bringing to nearly 300 the number of pieces bequeathed to the museum in france. Among them, of Bonnard of Vuillard and Camille Claudel.