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22 January to 30 May 2021

George Bemberg (1915-2011) was born into a family of German origin who had moved to Argentina around 1850. Over his lifetime he assembled one of the most important collections of paintings, drawings and objets d’art of his day. Its iconic works from the Renaissance to the 20th century reflect the collector’s interests and are displayed in a private residence in Toulouse, France. For this exclusive exhibition, enabled by refurbishment works at the Fondation Bemberg, the Fondation de l’Hermitage is privileged to host a selection of the greatest masterpieces in this prestigious private collection.  

While still a student of comparative literature at Harvard, George Bemberg made a trip to New York, where he bought his first artwork: a gouache by Camille Pissarro that he noticed at a dealer’s. He studied the art market, first in the United States and then in post-war France, acquiring works at auction, while also pursuing a literary career. In Paris he was captivated by the work of Pierre Bonnard and over the years built up one of the largest collections of the painter’s art. He was also interested in the Impressionists, Nabis and Fauves, buying important paintings by André Derain, Georges Braque and Henri Matisse, and drawings by Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Amadeo Modigliani.

The Bemberg collection is notable not only for the exceptional quality of its 19th and early 20th century art, but also for the splendour of its older paintings. It includes masterpieces of German, Flemish, Venetian and French art, notably by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Adriaen Isenbrandt, Veronese, Canaletto and François Clouet.

The exhibition at the Fondation de l’Hermitage will feature 134 of the most remarkable paintings and drawings from the Bemberg collection, which has never before been shown outside the walls of the Fondation Bemberg. It will be a unique opportunity to admire these treasures in a different setting and to explore the interests and personality of a great 20th century collector.