You can now see this €43 million French masterpiece at the Musée d'Orsay

A new beloved masterpiece has entered the Musée d'Orsay
A new beloved masterpiece has entered the Musée d'Orsay Copyright AFP
By Theo FarrantAFP
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The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has recently obtained a beloved Impressionist painting by Gustave Caillebotte, thanks to the financial support of luxury goods giant LVMH.


The Musée d'Orsay has a new masterpiece. 

A beloved work titled "La Partie de bateau" ("The Boat Party") by French painter Gustave Caillebotte was unveiled at Paris' prestigious museum earlier this week (30 January). 

French Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak was in attendance as the painting made its first public appearance at the Musée d'Orsay. 

"Today, we celebrate a great victory, the preservation of one of France's most valuable heritage treasures," she said.

The painting depicts a boater wearing a black top hat rowing on the Yerres river, not far from the property of the Caillebotte family, where the artist used to spend his summer holidays from the age of twelve.

A closeup image of Gustave Caillebotte's 'The Boat Party', on display at the Musée d'OrsayAFP

The charming work was acquired through the sponsorship of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, which paid €43 million ($46.7 million) for the work

Minister Abdul Malak expressed her appreciation for the efforts of LVMH in making this acquisition possible and acknowledged the significance of Caillebotte and his painting in the French art world. 

"This triumph would not have been possible without Gustave Caillebotte himself, since he supported, through his purchases, his artist friends Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, as you said, who were able to count on his support in moments of doubt and difficulty," said Malak. 

She also announced that in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Impressionism (the first Impressionist exhibition opened its doors at 35 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris back in 1874), several museums across France will showcase Caillebotte's masterpiece next year. 

Who is Gustave Caillebotte?

The Art Institute of Chicago
Paris Street Rainy Day (1877) by Gustave CaillebotteThe Art Institute of Chicago

Gustave Caillebotte was not your average artist of his time. While his contemporaries were busy painting dreamy landscapes and portraits of society's elite, Caillebotte was out capturing the real Paris - the one with cobblestone streets, workers, and, of course, boats.

Born in Paris in 1848, Caillebotte was a man of many talents. He was a painter, a collector, and even a patron of the arts. But most of all, he was a master of capturing the everyday moments of life. His paintings, such as "La Partie de bateau", are a delight to behold, with their bright colours, vivid details, and sense of movement. His paintings are considered to be some of the earliest examples of urban realism.

Some of his most famous works include "Paris Street; Rainy Day" (1877), "The Floor Scrapers" (1875) and "Skiffs on the Yerres" (1877). 

Despite his groundbreaking work, Gustave remained relatively unknown during his lifetime, but his impact on the art world cannot be underestimated. 

Today, he is considered one of the leading figures of the Impressionist movement, and his paintings are displayed in some of the finest art museums in the world.

A major exhibition on Caillebotte is being organised at the Musée d’Orsay for the fall of 2024, with exceptional loans from some of the United States' most respected museums. 

Check out the video above to the see the unveiling of Caillebotte's masterpiece.

Video editor • Theo Farrant

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