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History of the collections

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 Outer Harbour of Le Havre, Morning, Sun, Tide and The Pilots' Jetty and the Eastern Breakwater, Le Havre, Afternoon, Sunny Weather in 1903) and Claude Monet (Cliffs at Varengeville, London 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 (Monet, Fécamp Seashore, Courbet, The Wave), expanding into the 20th century (Léger, Hélion, Villon, Dubuffet) and particularly contemporary photography.

More about the Le Havre museum acquisitions

Descriptions of works acquired by the city

1900 – The Louis Boudin donation

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 224 sketches painted on canvas, board and wood panels. These artworks by Eugène Boudin are an irreplaceable testament to the artist's daily work outdoors.

More about Boudin

Descriptions of works from the Louis Boudin donation

1936 – The Charles-Auguste Marande bequest

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 (Marquet, Kees van 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.

More about Charles-Auguste Marande

Descriptions of works from the Charles-Auguste Marande bequest

1963 – The Dufy bequest

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.

More about Dufy

Descriptions of works from the Dufy bequest

2004 – The Hélène Senn-Foulds donation

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.

More about Olivier Senn

Descriptions of works from the Hélène Senn-Foulds donation

The Cercle de l'Art Moderne

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."

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.


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