The history of the collection
Creating a collection
Since it was founded in 2009, the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny has sought to present themed or monographic exhibitions linked to Impressionism in the broad sense, plus its offshoots. It hopes to demonstrate its influence on modern and contemporary art. It also cultivates a collection focused on Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and its legacy, which benefits from the generosity of major donors.
The first piece to join the museum’s collection in 2009 was a drawing by Pierre Bonnard: Claude Monet and Marthe Bonnard in the dining room at Giverny (c. 1920). This was a clear sign for the museum, creating an instant link with Claude Monet and his immediate friends and admirers – Les Nabis. Since then, the museum has acquired one hundred and forty-eight pieces, excluding long-term loans: paintings, drawings and photographs, as well as twenty-eight signed letters. This collection could not have been created without the help and support of donors including Claire Denis, Daniel Danzon, Christian Dimond, Henri Foucault, Charlotte Hellman Cachin, Hiramatsu Reiji, Dominique Ledebt, Olivier Mériel, Anne Ostier, Adrien Ostier, Mr. and Mrs. Michel Quentin, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Long-term loans from Philippe Piguet, Bernard Plossu, the Rouen Normandy Regional Contemporary Art Fund, the Claude Monet Foundation collection and the village of Giverny also add to the museum’s collection.
There are currently more than 250 pieces, plus significant archives.
Nihonga, an exceptional collection in Giverny
In 2013, as part of the exhibition “Hiramatsu, the Water Lily Pond. Tribute to Monet”, a collection of pieces by Hiramatsu Reiji, a contemporary Japanese painter using the traditional technique of nihonga, entered the museum: twenty-two paintings and three screens in 2013, followed by two screens in 2014 and then a set of five diptychs. From 2012 to 2014, the artist made donations: a stamp, his nihonga painting materials, and a collection of 25 drawings and two sketchbooks.Nihonga, an exceptional collection in Giverny
A major photography collection
Sixty photographs by Bernard Plossu on the garden and home of Claude Monet were purchased in 2012, adding to a collection already featuring precious prints by Olivier Mériel and a photo by André Ostier depicting the painter Marc Chagall near the water lily pond in 1963. In 2015, whilst preparing for the exhibition “Photographing Monet’s gardens. Five contemporary views”, this collection of photographs was supplemented with a set of three photograms, Vibrations – Giverny (4-5 November 2014), donated by the sculptor, photographer and video maker Henri Foucault, taking part in the exhibition.
The story continues
Using its own funds, the museum has also purchased a selection of pieces closely linked to its mission, such as the painting by Maurice Denis Sunlight on the River (c. 1932), or thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, an important piece by Gustave Caillebotte, Bed of Daisies (c. 1893), which underwent an ambitious restoration in 2020-2021.
In 2019, the collection continued to grow: two canvases by Jean Francis Auburtin were generously offered by the painter’s descendants; and two pieces by Paul Signac were offered by the artist’s descendant, joining a painting by Jeanne Selmersheim-Desgrange. Finally, a new crowdfunding campaign, supported by the museum’s Patrons’ Club, Caisse d’Épargne Normandie and the Friends of the Museum, allowed a major piece by Pierre Bonnard, The Seine at Vernon (1915), to be purchased and returned to the very place where it was created. Very recently, a painting by Édouard Dantan, Boat at Villerville, Low Tide (1881) and another by Eugène Boudin, Deauville. The Basin (1884) joined the collection, reinforcing the link between Impressionist Normandy and the museum.
From the Impressionism of Caillebotte to the Post-Impressionism of Bonnard, from the painting by Joan Mitchell to the delicate poetry of Hiramatsu Reiji, through its collection and exhibitions, the museum hopes to demonstrate the influence of Impressionism on art, even on the most modern pieces.