The Motais de Narbonne Collection — French and Italian paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries

© Studio Pierre Ballif
© Studio Pierre Ballif

Since the early 1980s Héléna and Guy Motais de Narbonne, Paris art lovers closely connected to the Musée du Louvre, have been passionately committed to building up a remarkably unified collection.

This exhibition offers the public an introduction in the form of forty French and Italian paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries, most of them portraying religious or mythological subjects. Some, never publicly exhibited before, are by artists already well represented at the Louvre, such as Bourdon, Le Brun, Tassel, Boucher, Subleyras, Vien, Creti, Giordano and Preti.

Others are the work of painters hitherto absent from the museum. Thus the gift from the two collectors means the Louvre's early painting collection will now be home to two pictures by Déruet and Viani.

This presentation of works hitherto unknown to Louvre visitors provides proof that it is still possible today to build up a collection of real quality. At the same time it testifies to the spirit of a museum alert to the activity of private collectors, which it sees as complementing its own.

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