If all goes as planned, The Basket of Wild Strawberries, by Jean-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779), will go to the Louvre. It is in fact to this painting that the 2023 edition of “All patrons!” is dedicated, a campaign which, every year since 2010, calls on the generosity of the public for heritage enrichment deemed a priority: restoration, acquisition or museographic project .
“We already have the assurance that the world's leading luxury group LVMH (nearly 80 billion euros in sales in 2022, Editor's note) will participate in two thirds of the necessary sum. Or around 15 million euros out of 24.3, announced Laurence des Cars, president and director of the museum during the launch press conference on Tuesday by the Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak. And to specify that another private company is involved for 1 million euros, with the Society of Friends of the Louvre for 500,000 euros. The Louvre will supplement by drawing on its own acquisition budget backed by its ticketing (13 million euros). It expects individuals to receive around 1.3 million euros, a little more than what was collected in 2022 at the end of the Choiseul snuff box acquisition campaign (5,000 donors).
“The Basket of Wild Strawberries, the last oil of this quality still in private hands, is the seventh “national treasure” that we are helping to buy,” comments Jean-Paul Claverie, LVMH patronage advisor. It was presented regularly in exhibitions in the 20th century. In 1999, she was on the poster for the retrospective organized at the Grand Palais by Pierre Rosenberg. » Since then, Chardin's icon of maturity has established itself as one of the milestones in the history of Western still life painting.
On March 23, 2022 it was auctioned off at Artcurial Paris by Adam Williams, an American gallerist who was then perhaps acting for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or the Getty in Los Angeles. He had put 24.3 million euros on the table, a world record for an 18th century French painting (and double the low estimate). The Basket of Wild Strawberries had, however, been recognized as a “national treasure” at the instigation of Laurence des Cars, who had questioned the then Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot. Consequence: the export permit had not been issued, the public authorities giving themselves thirty months to raise the sum.
Something possible, especially since the 2002 law which allows companies a tax exemption of 90% of their donations, capped at 50% of their corporate tax. A win-win, both for the museum and for the patron whose action is publicized. In the spring, the museum will probably have a 42nd Chardin.
The Basket of Wild Strawberries is visible in room 831 of the Louvre, Richelieu wing, 2nd floor, at least until the end of “ All patrons! " end of February. To donate: by check using a form to download from donate.louvre.fr and return by mail.