Jean Chatelus, who died on July 6, 2021 at the age of 82, was an associate professor of history, a lecturer at the Sorbonne, and the author of Peindre à Paris au XVIIIème siècle (Jacqueline Chambon, 1991). Initially oriented towards primitive, surrealist, and singular works, his collection gradually turned towards the most contemporary art.
Suzanne Pagé devoted a room to him during the exhibition Passions privées in 1995 at the MAM. A few years later, he participated in the inaugural exhibition of the Maison Rouge L’intime – Le collectionneur derrière la porte in 2004. His bedroom was reconstructed in its entirety.
“For many reasons, I always thought he was one of the most exciting French collectors. He liked to flirt with what some people thought was ‘bad taste’ when in fact his eye saw far ahead of others. He loved to show his “contemporary cabinet” and observe his guests amazed by the immense freedom of his choices. A modest and secretive character, Jean was extremely kind and loyal in friendship. – Antoine de Galbert
The Fondation Antoine de Galbert – which inherited the Jean Chatelus collection in July 2021 – donates the entire collection to the Centre Pompidou. This exceptional collection, conceived and built with passion and curiosity by Jean Chatelus over more than forty years, will be presented in an exhibition in the fall of 2024 in the Museum’s galleries on level 4.
The foundation is continuing the work in memory of the collector by taking charge of a catalog and a film on Jean Chatelus and his incredible collection. It is also financing the restoration of a large studio apartment in the Cité Internationale des Arts, which will be used as a residency.
The Jean Chatelus donation includes a collection of approximately 400 pieces of contemporary art, popular art and early art. Following in the footsteps of the Albers, Daniel Cordier, Sonia and Charles Delaunay, Louise and Michel Leiris, Pevsner, Rouault, Florence and Daniel Guerlain, and Bruno Decharme donations, it marks a new stage in the history of major donations received by the Centre Pompidou. It completes the collections already established (Christian Boltanski, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Morris, Daniel Spoerri) and deepens the collection with a group of artists little or not represented (Rina Banerjee, Guillaume Bijl, Gerhard Merz, Rachel Harrison, Anna Solal).