A Caillebotte masterpiece joins the Orsay collections

A Caillebotte masterpiece joins the Orsay collections

It is a masterpiece of Impressionism which has just joined the collections of the Musée d’Orsay. The Boat Party also called The boater in the top hat painted by Gustave Caillebotte around 1877-1878 has just been acquired for the French national collections thanks to the sponsorship of the LVMH group. The painting, typical of Impressionism by the divisionism of its touch and its photographic framing, had remained until now in the family of the painter.

Their intention to sell it, together with another smaller painting by Caillebotte, Lunch, had led the State to issue a decree on January 30, 2020 classifying these two works as “national treasures”. This device makes it possible to block the import of a work for thirty months, the time for French museums to possibly find the funds to acquire it. The classification as “national treasure” is also accompanied by a particularly interesting provision for patrons who can be granted a tax reduction equal to 90% of the amount of the purchase.

The Musée d’Orsay, which already has Parquet Planers as well as 12 other paintings by Gustave Caillebotte, including three bequeathed in 2018 by the great-granddaughter of his butler, Marie-Jeanne Daurelle and two returned in 2019 and 2022 thanks to the payment donation system, was obviously very keen to acquire this new canvas. This canvas is considered to be of major importance, as the man was long more prized for his activities as a collector and patron of Impressionism, author of a very generous bequest to French museums, than for his own artistic talents.

A tour in the provinces in 2024

During the confinement, contacts had thus been made with the LVMH group, which has already participated in the acquisition of several national treasures including The Book of Hours of François 1er for the Louvre in 2018 with sponsorship of 7.9 million euros. This time, the participation of the group is much more important since The Boat Party is estimated at 43 million euros, fully financed by LVMH sponsorship. An amount equivalent to that of another painting by Caillebotte sold in 2021 at auction, The Young Man at his window, acquired by the Getty Museum in Los Angeles for 46 million dollars (53 million dollars with fees), or 43 million euros.

Bernard Arnault’s group, which posted record results of 80 billion euros in 2022, is undoubtedly carrying out with this investment, 90% deductible from its corporate tax, a great communication operation. In 2018, he was strongly criticized for having taken advantage of the very favorable tax provisions linked to foundations and thus deducted via his corporate foundation, in eleven years, 518 million euros.

In 2024, for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Impressionism, the Musée d’Orsay plans to send The Boat Party with other masterpieces of this movement in several regional museums. Then in the fall of 2024, he will dedicate a major retrospective to the painter.


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