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COLLECTION Identifier: SC 6

Records of the Boston Committee of Sauvegarde de l'art Français, 1925-1938

This collection includes the meeting minutes, correspondence, and financial records of the Boston Committee of Sauvegarde de l'art Français ("Protection of French Art") from the years 1925-1938. Also included are maps, floor plans, publicity and notes of the French town of Larressingle, which this committee raised money to purchase and restore.

Dates

  • 1925-1938

Conditions on Access

Access: Unrestricted

Copyright: Copyright in the papers in the collection may be held by Sauvegarde de l'art Français, or by the authors of letters, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the curator of the Harvard Art Museum Archives before publishing quotations from any material in the collection.

Conditions on Use

Copying: Papers may be copied in accordance with the Harvard Art Museum Archives' usual procedures.

Extent

.25 linear feet

The records of the Boston committee of Sauvegarde de l'art Français consist of meeting minutes, correspondence, financial records, articles and maps, which document the committee's efforts to raise money for the purchase and restoration of the French village Larressingle. The materials were originally housed in a paper and wood Thorp and Martin Company letter-box. The collection is arranged with close attention to its original order. Inside the letter-box, meeting records were grouped towards the top, with correspondence in chronological order, and financial records and maps following. For the sake of organization, the records within each series were filed in chronological order. In some cases, a larger group of papers was divided among several folders for the sake of preservation. Photographs and fragile materials were photocopied and the originals were filed separately for preservation purposes. Photocopies of these restricted documents are filed in place of the originals.

The materials were damaged in a flood of the Art Museum Archives in 1998. Some of the envelopes are stuck to papers, and some of the ink has run. Many of the papers are wrinkled and some are acidic.

Historical Note:

The organization Sauvegarde de l'art Français was founded in Paris in 1925 to protect, conserve and restore France's artistic heritage of art and monuments. The duc de Trévise, Édouard Mortier, was the President of the Society; he organized a show and sale in the spring of 1924 to benefit what was then a personal project. Soon after that fundraiser, Mortier toured cities in the United States with the intent of raising additional money to benefit his cause. In 1925, after hearing Mortier speak about the organization, the Boston Committee of Sauvegarde de l'art Français, sometimes called La Sauvegarde de l'art Français, was formed. The Boston Committee brought together the leading artistic patrons of Boston, who raised money for the restoration, and eventual purchase, of the thirteenth century walled village of Larressingle, located in present day Gascony. Larressingle is spelled in multiple ways in the records of the Boston committee, often with only one r, or one s. Today the accepted spelling is "Larressingle." Larressingle is one of the smallest medieval fortresses in Europe, which in 1920 was a crumbling, neglected ruin. It was discovered in this condition by the duc de Trevise. and the state of the village led him to found the society. He encouraged the members of the Boston Committee to purchase the houses in the area; eventually they were able to purchase and restore much of the property from the winemaker who owned it.

Jean-Jacques Haffner, head of the Department of Architecture at Harvard College, made frequent trips to,France, reporting from there to the Boston Committee on the goings on at the Paris Sauvegarde de l'art Français, and the state of the repairs at Larressingle. By 1930, Sauvegarde de l'art Français had committees in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Madison, and Minneapolis, as well as in cities all over France. The Boston Committee ceased to exist in early 1938 after it completed a successful purchase and restoration of the village of Larressingle. Sauvegarde de l'art Français exists today as a private restoration subsidy; it focuses mainly on the repair and restoration of old churches built prior to 1800. Larressingle is currently a popular tourist destination of the Pyrenees. As of January 2009, a website for the "Friends of Larressingle" was located at http://www.larressingle.asso.fr/; the Sauvegarde website was at http://www.sauvegardeartfrancais.fr/

Series in the collection:

The collection is arranged into four series:
  1. Series I, Meeting Records, includes secretaries' reports, attendance lists, andinvitations to meetings of both the committee and the subscribers.
  2. Series II,Correspondence, makes up the largest group of the collection, and consists of correspondencebetween Boston Committee members, and correspondence with the Paris Committee. BostonCommittee Newsletters and Progress Reports, and Paris Committee Newsletters and ProgressReports.
  3. Series III, Financial Records are grouped as financial contributors'lists, financial correspondence, and bills and receipts.
  4. Series IV, Maps andArticles, contains articles concerning fundraising efforts, maps and notes regarding Larressingle,and a photocopy of the letter-box in which the collection was originally housed.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Fogg Art Museum in 1938 by the Boston Committee of Sauvegarde de l'art Français; it was received by Museum Director Edward W. Forbes, a member of the committee.

Related Material

The catalog from the duc de Trevise's Exposition d'oeuvres de Géricault: au profit de La Société "La Sauveguarde de l'Art Français" which was held at the Hôtel Jean Charpentier, Paris, from April 24-May 16, 1924, is held by the Harvard Fine Arts Library.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in October, 2005 and November, 2005 by Jennifer Keefe with assistance from Susan von Salis.
Link to catalog
Title
Records of the Boston Committee of Sauvegarde de l'art Français (SC 6), 1925-1938: A Guide
Author
Harvard Art Museum Archives
EAD ID
art00014

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Art Museums Archives Repository

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 1895 to the present. Its collections include significant papers of individuals and groups associated with the museums' history, as well as correspondence with collectors, gallery owners, museum professionals, and notables throughout the twentieth century. Its holdings also document the formation of the museums' collections and its mission as a teaching institution.

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