The French Minister of Culture and Communication, Fleur Pellerin, has just announced the French state's acquisition of Claude-Joseph Vernet's Vue d'Avignon, depuis la rive droite du Rhône près de Villeneuve, destined for the Musée du Louvre, thanks to AXA's patronage.
18th-century masterpiece Vue d'Avignon, depuis la rive droite du Rhône près de Villeneuve is a critical milestone in the French landscape painting tradition. Painted while the artist was travelling across the country to complete the Ports de France series for King Louis XV, it was in England for over 200 years.
It combines topographic accuracy and precision in describing human activities with an extraordinary poetic sense and a quite modern virtuosity in terms of its depiction of atmosphere and light effects. The composition displays a panoramic horizon of Avignon and its main monuments: the Popes' Palace, Petit Palais, Cathedral of the Doms, Church of St. Pierre, the ramparts, the medieval door, the famous bridge and its broken arches, etc. The main subject of the painting becomes the alliance between sky and water, in the interplay between light and shadow, on the gilded stone of the Popes' Palace, and in the contrast between the picturesque and the sublime, as well as that between the quiet eternity of secular monuments and the activities of the men of the Enlightenment (Les Lumières).
Fleur Pellerin was keen to emphasize it was a remarkable acquisition. "I am delighted that this work of a great French master enriches the national collections", she added. "This acquisition provides the opportunity to finally present to the public a masterpiece of the 18th century French painting which had not been shown in France for 200 years" declares, delighted, Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of the Musée du Louvre. "We are very proud to contribute once again to the preservation and transmission of our cultural heritage with the acquisition of this masterpiece, which the visitors of the Louvre will be able to appreciate."
"AXA's commitment to cultural philanthropy is deeply bound to our corporate responsibility initiatives and consistent with the activities of AXA Art, which brings its expertise to museums, private and institutional collectors to protect and value their works of art ", declared Henri de Castries, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AXA. This acquisition was made possible thanks to the tax framework provided by the article 238 bis 0 A of the French General Tax Code.
These measures create favorable conditions for inclusion of works considered "of major heritage interest" in public collections, thanks to an exceptional tax benefit granted to philanthropic companies. The Claude-Joseph Vernet painting has been classified "of major heritage interest" by the Advisory Committee of the national treasures. The Minister of Culture and Communication thanks AXA Group for its exemplary sponsorship with this work of art destined for the Musée du Louvre, and, more generally, for its efforts towards the preservation and transmission of our cultural heritage.