The Musée d’Orsay is Enriched by a New Donation from Marlene Hays

Orsay Guided Private Tour

Works by Matisse, Modigliani or Camille Claudel: the Musée d’Orsay is enriched by a new donation from Marlene Hays.

Bustes signed Charles Cordier (Musée d’Orsay).

106 paintings, drawings and sculptures will join the Orsay collection.

New deliveries on the docks of the former Orsay train station.  Bonnard’s paintings, Vuillard’s paintings and works by Camille Claudel will join the Musée d’Orsay, after a second donation from Marlene Hays, a great collector of Texan art with her husband Spencer, who died in 2017.

This American couple has amassed a huge collection of some 600 works from the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.  They had lent 187 works to the Musée d’Orsay in 2013 for the exhibition “A French passion“.

In October 2016, this group was the subject of a first donation subject to usufruct, now supplemented by the 106 new works donated to the museum.  “This new donation is a historical enrichment of national public collections of the state,” said Thursday the Minister of Culture Franck Riester.

Among the hundreds of works, there are 40 paintings, 47 works on paper and 19 sculptures, bringing to nearly 300 the number of pieces given by the couple, lovers of French painting of the late nineteenth and early twentieth and under the  charm of the nabis.

Major paintings by Delaunay, Matisse and Modigliani

Ten paintings by Bonnard (including Jeune fille au chien, 1894), nine Edouard Vuillard will come to complete the collections of Orsay, as well as paintings considered major Robert Delaunay (The woman bread, 1905), Henri Matisse (The woman  in yellow, 1923) and Modigliani (Young woman with a rose – Margherita, 1916).

Musée d'Orsay

I lived in a city where there was no art, no museum.

Spencer Hays

Married for nearly 60 years, Spencer and Marlene Hays were self-taught in art history.  “Child, I lived in Texas, in a city where there was no art, no museum, I met my wife Marlene before I went to university, we were both very modest  “, said this great collector and former businessman in 2013.

Spencer and Marlene Hays Musée d'Orsay

From simple decoration to rich collection

Spencer Hays began selling books by going door-to-door for a company, until his wife offered to buy a painting from a 17th-century Dutch painter to decorate their home in Nashville, Tennessee. This will be the beginning of a large collection.

The couple began by buying American art before embarking on the 1980s in French works of the late nineteenth century.  The first donation of the couple Hays had crowned the efforts of Guy Cogeval, president of the museum of Orsay until 2017, who knew the couple since 2001 and shared with him the passion of the painters Nabis.

Spencer Hays Decorated Musee Orsay Paris