The luxury holdings company LVMH has backed France’s acquisition of a valuable painting by Gustave Caillebotte. The painting will now be held by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
The work, A Boating Party (1877), features a close-up view of a man rowing a wooden skiff along a river. It’s the latest addition to the Musée d’Orsay’s substantial collection of Impressionist art, which is already substantial. The core of those holdings were established after work from Caillebotte’s estate, which included pieces by Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet, was gifted to the French state upon his death in 1894.
A Boating Party was sold by Caillebotte’s descendants. An adviser to LVMH’s owner, Bernard Arnault, told the Associated Press that the painting was one of the few major works still held privately.
Arnault is a prominent collector who regularly appears on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list. His company supplied $47 million for the French state’s purchase of the work.
LVMH has backed previous Musée d’Orsay exhibitions, including a 2012 one about Impressionism and fashion.
This is the second major Caillebotte painting to head to a museum in the past two years. In November 2021, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles acquired Jeune homme à sa fenêtre (Young Man at His Window, 1876) for $53 million when it sold during a sale of Impressionist art from the estate of a Texas oil magnate at Christie’s. The sale set a new record for the artist.
In a statement, the French government’s culture minister, Rima Abdul Malak, called the acquisition and the agency’s move to keep the work in a French museum a “victory.”