History

The museum began building its permanent collection in 1845 with the initial objective of providing a comprehensive overview of the various European schools of painting since the Renaissance. But at the turn of the 20th century, through several major donations and bequests, the Musée d'art moderne André Malraux became a locus of Impressionism and Fauvism.

Acquisitions by the City of Le Havre

The City of Le Havre was insightfully aware of the importance of the Impressionist School, and was quick to purchase works from Pissarro (The Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre, on a Sunny Morning with the Tide Coming in and The Anse des Pilotes and the East Breakwater, Le Havre, on a Sunny Afternoon in 1903) and Claude Monet (Cliffs at VarengevilleLondon Parliament and Waterlilies in 1911).
The museum's holdings were further enriched with acquisitions to complement the existing collection, with pieces from the 19th century (MonetFécamp Seashore, CourbetThe Wave), expanding into the 20th century (Léger, Hélion, Villon, Dubuffet) and particularly contemporary photography.

1900 – The Louis Boudin donation

Eugène BOUDIN (1824-1898), Study of Clouds, Blue Sky, ca. 1888-1895, oil on wood, 37 x 46 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Eugène BOUDIN (1824-1898), Study of Clouds, Blue Sky, ca. 1888-1895, oil on wood, 37 x 46 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
In accordance with the wishes of his brother Eugène who passed away in Deauville in 1898, Louis Boudin donated the works from the artist's studio to the City of Le Havre in 1900 and thus contributed to the enrichment of its collections with 240 sketches painted on canvas, board and wood panels.
These artworks by Eugène Boudin are an irreplaceable testament to the artist's daily work outdoors.
The Musée d'art moderne André Malraux collection offers the public a unique opportunity to discover the art of Eugène Boudin. Freed from the studio and a concern for finish, the painter demonstrated how the use of colour alone was able to bring to life nuance and detail, which had been, from his beginnings, at the heart of his artistic exploration.

1936 – The Charles-Auguste Marande bequest

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), The Excursionist, ca. 1888, oil on canvas, 61.5 x 50 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), The Excursionist, ca. 1888, oil on canvas, 61.5 x 50 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
In 1929, Charles-Auguste Marande expressed his desire to bequeath his collection to the City of Le Havre. That was how new Impressionist pieces (Renoir, Monet, Pissarro) and especially Fauve artworks (Marquetvan Dongen, Camoin) joined the museum in 1936 with the gift of 63 paintings, 25 drawings and 1 sculpture.
This bequest was the core of the museum's Impressionist and Fauve collection, prior to the arrival of the Senn-Foulds donation.
Marande kept abreast of artistic developments and constituted a fine collection that demonstrated his taste for landscape paintings, portraits and interior scenes.

1963 – The Dufy bequest

Raoul DUFY (1877-1953), Vase with Bathers and Swans, 1930, ceramic, h. : 29.5 cm / diam. : 29.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Raoul DUFY (1877-1953), Vase with Bathers and Swans, 1930, ceramic, h. : 29.5 cm / diam. : 29.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
In 1963, Raoul Dufy's widow bequeathed to the artist's native city of Le Havre a collection of 70 of her husband's works: 30 paintings, 30 drawings, 5 watercolours (chosen by Reynold Arnould, Curator of the city’s museums), 3 ceramics, 1 tapestry and 1 bust of Dufy by Valerisce.
This collection spans the artist's entire career, from his first Impressionist explorations and Fauve period to his move toward Cézanne and then Cubism, before establishing his own personal style on the margins of pictorial trends.
This bequest reflects the diversity of Dufy's art from painting and drawing to tapestry and ceramics.

2004 – The Hélène Senn-Foulds donation

Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, ca. 1884-1886 / 1890 / 1900, pastel on wove paper, 40.5 x 32 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, ca. 1884-1886 / 1890 / 1900, pastel on wove paper, 40.5 x 32 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
In 2004, Hélène Senn-Foulds very generously donated to the museum the extraordinary collection that belonged to her grandfather, Olivier Senn from Le Havre.
Through his in-depth knowledge of the artistic milieu, he acquired major works by Courbet, Delacroix and Corot, and especially Impressionist artists such as Renoir, Sisley, Monet, Pissarro, Guillaumin and Degas. His collection also included Post-Impressionists such as Cross, Nabis such as Sérusier, Vallotton, Bonnard and Vuillard, and Fauves such as Derain, Marquet and Matisse.
Thanks to Hélène Senn-Foulds' donation of 71 paintings, 130 prints and drawings, and 5 sculptures, the Musée d'art moderne André Malraux now boasts one of the richest Impressionist collections in France.

2009 — THE SECOND HÉLÈNE SENN-FOULDS DONATION

Nicolas de STAËL (1914-1955), Landscape, Antibes, 1955, oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Nicolas de STAËL (1914-1955), Landscape, Antibes, 1955, oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
On July 8, 2009, Hélène Senn-Foulds generously donated the collection that belonged to her father, Edouard Senn:
67 new artworks thus joined the museum in the form of 42 paintings, 15 drawings, 5 prints and 5 sculptures.
Son of Oliver Senn, Edouard Senn (Le Havre 1901-Sallanches 1992) was, like his father, passionate about the art of his time. He moved to Paris in 1940 and began his own collection, taking an interest in the artists of the interwar period, such as Charles Lacoste, André Dunoyer de Segonzac and Yvan Pougny. But his preference leaned more toward works painted between 1950 and 1980, like those of Hungarian-born Endre Rozsda, Pierre Lesieur, Roger Muhl and Nicolas de Staël. Among other extraordinary works, his collection includes a watercolour from Pablo Picasso's Blue Period.

2014 — THE PIERRE-MAURICE MATHEY DONATION

Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Statue of Henri IV and Hôtel de la Monnaie, Morning, Sun, 1901, oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Statue of Henri IV and Hôtel de la Monnaie, Morning, Sun, 1901, oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
One year later, Pierre-Maurice Mathey, Olivier Senn's grandson by marriage, as a tribute to his wife's grandfather, made a donation with reservation of usufruct of the 17 artworks he had inherited from his wife. When the usufruct ended in 2014, the ten paintings (by Pissarro, Boudin and Marquet, among others) and seven drawings (including works by Degas and Guillaumin) served to further enrich the Olivier Senn collection.

The Cercle de l'Art Moderne

Henri Edmond CROSS (1856-1910), Beach at Vignasse, The Golden Isles, 1891-1892, oil on canvas, 65.5 x 92.2 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Henri Edmond CROSS (1856-1910), Beach at Vignasse, The Golden Isles, 1891-1892, oil on canvas, 65.5 x 92.2 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
The Cercle de l'Art Moderne was formed in Le Havre in 1906, primarily due to the efforts of painters Braque, Dufy and Othon Friesz. Their aim was to create broad awareness of the new, "modern" trends in painting and sculpture, as well as in architecture, music, poetry and the decorative arts.

Headed by its president, Mr. Choupay, chief architect of the City of Le Havre, and its secretary-general, Georges Jean-Aubry, the Cercle reunited a group of painters with a team of local businessmen that included co-founders Marande, Senn, Dussueil, Luthy and van der Velde. Together they set out to "facilitate demonstrations of a personal art through the organization of weekly meetings, art exhibitions, chamber music concerts and art education lectures."
 
Paul SÉRUSIER (1864-1927), The Corydon Shepherd, 1913, oil on canvas, 73 x 99 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Paul SÉRUSIER (1864-1927), The Corydon Shepherd, 1913, oil on canvas, 73 x 99 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
The Cercle de l'Art Moderne mounted four exhibitions between 1906 and 1909, presenting some 272 works by artists who would go on to achieve wide recognition. All of the modern tendencies of the early 20th century were on display, including pieces by Impressionists (Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Guillaumin), Neo-Impressionists (Cross, Signac and Luce), Nabi painters (Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Sérusier, Vallotton and Vuillard) and Fauve artists from the 1905 Salon d'Automne (Camoin, Derain, Manguin, Marquet, Matisse, Puy and Vlaminck), in addition to works by the three aforementioned artists from Le Havre.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Gabriele BASILICO (1944-2013), Le Havre. Saint-Joseph Church, 1984, colour photograph, gelatin silver bromide print, 60 x 50 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Gabriele Basilico
Gabriele BASILICO (1944-2013), Le Havre. Saint-Joseph Church, 1984, colour photograph, gelatin silver bromide print, 60 x 50 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Gabriele Basilico
Photo campaigns were used to document the reconstruction of Le Havre in 1947, and continued long after the city had risen from the ashes. Often conducted by artists who were not from Le Havre themselves (Lucien Hervé in 1956 and Gabriele Basilico, to name just two), these campaigns were commissioned as a means of promoting the image of a beautiful, modern city, and allowing its residents to appropriate the new space.
MuMa has contributed to this historical record by encouraging more photo campaigns, at the very moment the city centre rebuilt by Auguste Perret was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site (2005).
Drawing inspiration from André Malraux's idea of an imaginary museum or "museum without walls", MuMa has also added to its collection of photographs that explore the notion of landscape in direct link with its painting collections (Thibaut Cuisset, Véronique Ellena, Stéphane Couturier, etc.).