Acquisitions in 2004

La Couture-Boussey - Museum of Wind Instruments
Oboe made by Louis Cornet (La Couture-Boussey 1678- Paris 1741). Boxwood (body), ivory (viroles) and brass (keys). Approx. 60 cm. Auguste Tolbecque collection (Vente Niort 1922).
This locally made oboe dating from the first half of the 18th century has filled a gap in the museum’s collection, which features only two wind instruments for the second half of that century. Very few of the instruments produced in Louis Cornet’s workshop are now in public museums (a flute in Bonn and a flageolet in the Museum of Music in Paris).This oboe was acquired by pre-emption at public auction in Vichy in June 2004.

Dieppe - Castle Museum
Collection of documents and objects concerning Camille Saint-Saëns (Ê1835-1921). Late 19th century-1921. Various formats and supports. Gabriel Geslin collection.
This collection of items assembled by Gabriel Geslin, the musician’s trusted servant, has joined the very rich collection bequeathed by Saint-Saëns himself to the city of Dieppe (and currently preserved in the Castle Museum and the mediatheque). This additional collection consists of manuscripts (letters and autograph scores) and printed material (programmes, posters, invitations), gouache and ink wash drawings (caricatures of his acquaintances or performers), travel souvenirs, personal objects and “relics” (Academician’s costume, medals, hair from his beard). These items shed new light on the life and work of Saint-Saëns, and enable us to identify a number of his correspondents (authors of the 15,000 letters and cards already preserved in the Castle Museum). They reinforce the existing collection which, together with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, constitutes the principal resource centre in France dedicated to this composer.

Eu - Louis-Philippe Castle Museum
Oil on canvas by Eugène Isabey (1803-1886). Squadron illuminated in Tréport harbour on Louis-Philippe’s departure for Windsor, October 7, 1844. 28 X 41.5 cm.
This painting was acquired by pre-emption at the sale of the collection belonging to Pierre Miquel (a historian and collector of French Romantic landscapes) in Paris on March 31, 2004. It is a precious testimony of the last French king’s official visit to England at the invitation of the young Queen Victoria -a significant diplomatic gesture which contributed to the establishment of the first Entente Cordiale. This sketch, the first work by Isabey to enter the Louis-Philippe Museum, represents the French squadron’s departure at nightfall.
During the renovation of the Louis-Philippe Museum, a room presenting this and the many other paintings with historical themes in the château could be fitted out in the Nemours apartments (damaged by fire in 1902).

Le Havre - Malraux Museum
Oil on canvas by Raoul Dufy (Ê1877-1953). Fishing for Shrimps in the Port of Le Havre. 1910. 73 X 58 cm. Berthe Reysz collection.
This work has now joined the Dufy collection, bequeathed to the museum by the artist’s widow and regularly enriched. Its radical style reflects the painter’s transition from Fauvism to a style influenced by Cézanne and the Cubist painters. This painting was exhibited by the Malraux Museum for the Raoul Dufy exhibition, "From motif to colour", organised in 2003 for the fiftieth anniversary of the death of this artist, who was born in Le Havre.

Group of 31 photographs of the City of Le Havre by Lucien Hervé (born in 1910). Photographs taken in July 1956, printed under the artist’s direction in 2003. 12 prints 24 X 30 cm, 10 prints 30 X 40 cm, 9 prints 40 X 50 cm.
Lucien Hervé, one of the 20th century’s greatest architectural photographers, had been working with Le Corbusier for seven years by the time he went to Le Havre in 1956 for a photographic report commissioned by the city’s Tourist Board. This commission had remained practically unpublished, and was rediscovered during preparation for the exhibition “Auguste Perret. Poetry in Concrete” presented at the Malraux Museum in late 2002. The 31 prints acquired by the museum are a testimony to the history of Le Havre’s reconstruction by Auguste Perret (whose team was still active in 1956 when the photographer arrived), and represent a landmark in the evolution of representations of this region. The rigorous construction of Lucien Hervé’s images is well-suited to the philosophy of Perret, who said “Architecture is the art of organising space. It finds expression through construction”.

Rouen - Museum of Fine Arts
Oil on canvas by Louis-Jacques Mandé Daguerre. Interior of Rosslyn Chapel, 1824. 113 X 97 cm. Vicomte Vigier collection, then count A.P., then private collection.
This work, which is remarkable for its play of light and its size, has joined a group of architectural views from the early 19th century which are one of the original features of this museum. It has particular significance for the city of Rouen, where exchanges between Norman and English “antique dealers” were intense in the early 19th century. This painting - a preparatory stage for a diorama which was presented both in France and in England - celebrates a legendary example of Gothic Revival “l” architecture in Britain.

Water colour and gouache over pencil with grattage, by Théodore Géricault (1791-1824). Seascape, study in preparation for the Raft of the Medusa. Circa 1818. 11.6 X 18 cm. Private collection.
This sketch, painted after a trip to Le Havre in preparation for the painting of the Raft of the Medusa, is now in the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts, where it has joined the largest collection of painted and drawn studies for the great composition now in the Louvre. This work of historical and technical significance was acquired by pre-emption at public auction in Paris on November 26, 2003.

Villequier - Victor Hugo Museum
Series of original illustrations for the complete works of Victor Hugo by François Flameng (1856-1923). Published from 1885 to 1889. 33 X 22.6 cm. 100 drawings in pencil, ink, charcoal, white gouache highlights.

This acquisition has filled a gap in the collection of the Victor Hugo Museum, which opened in 1951 in the Vacquerie family home. Although it was rich in furniture, books and letters, there were few examples of work by Victor Hugo’s principal illustrators. One of these 100 drawings had never been published, and makes this series of drawings (which are annotated on the back) all the more interesting. It also sheds light on the links between François Flameng, the Vaquerie family and Victor Hugo, who was very attentive to the text / image relationship in his works. The museum’s acquisition of these original drawings is highly significant in view of the rarity of the prints, the only known complete copy of which is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.