21 February to 7 June 2015
2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Oskar Reinhart (1885-1965) - a more than fitting reason to honour his achievements as a collector of Impressionist art in connection with those of another leading figure in the art world of that time, namely Victor Chocquet (1821-1891), who very quickly recognised the importance of the new developments in painting. Chocquet, who especially admired the work of Eugène Delacroix, was also one of the first friends, champions and collectors of French Impressionism. In 1899, when his widely renowned collection was sold at auction, it contained rich holdings of works by Delacroix, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne as well as equally important works by Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet and Claude Monet. These same artists - the leading exponents of Impressionism - would later also take pride of place in Oskar Reinhart's collection.
It is therefore not by chance that Victor Chocquet has long been a welcome ‘guest' in Oskar Reinhart's former home - that is to say, the outstanding ensemble of works by Renoir in the Collection ‘Am Römerholz' includes a portrait of Chocquet, painted in 1876, which has allowed subsequent generations to gaze upon the features of this courageous patron of the arts. It was first illustrated in the sale catalogue for his own collection. This painting occupies a central position in the series of portraits that Renoir and Cézanne painted of Chocquet and members of his family. For the first time since Chocquet's collection was sold, this exhibition reunites the most important of these portraits. In addition, other representative works from his collection give an insight into its breadth and importance. Chocquet took a particular interest in the work of Cézanne, which is the main focus in our exhibition, where it is seen alongside paintings by Delacroix, Renoir, Monet, Manet and Courbet.
Thanks to the efforts of leading experts who have presented us with significant new findings, the exhibition catalogue provides the most complete picture hitherto of Victor Chocquet and his collection, which is also ‘reconstructed' for the first time in this publication.