Frits Lugt and Jacoba Lugt-Klever in hôtel Turgot, Paris
The eighteenth century Hôtel Turgot which houses the Frits Lugt Collection contains many paintings that are hardly known to the public. The Dutch masters of the Golden Age form the largest and most important group. Selected with a discerning eye by the great Frits Lugt (1884-1970), they are representative of their period and their authors, and many have featured individually in loan exhibitions. This is the first time that a major selection of these works is shown together accompanied by an array of Dutch pictures from the eighteenth and nineteenth century and by a number of fine Flemish paintings. More unexpected is the presence of some remarkable works by masters such as Francesco Guardi, Nicolas de Largillière and Richard Parkes Bonington. As a whole, the collection reflects the outspoken taste of its collector, who preferred intimate subjects like portraits, still lifes and landscapes to scenes of martyrdom and allegories.
In 2010, almost sixty oil sketches from the later eighteenth and nineteenth century have come to enrich the collection, thanks to the bequest of its former director Carlos van Hasselt (1929–2009). Invariably landscape studies, these works have found their natural place within the Lugt collection, echoing its remarkable holdings of drawings by French, English and Danish artists from the same period. An active acquisition policy has recently allowed enhancing the coherence and quality of this ensemble by adding a number of significant works in the same technique.
Many of the paintings have been restored in the course of 2011, revealing their original details and colours, and some of them have newly been mounted in period frames.