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Chefs-D'œuvre retrouvés : Zéphyr, Flore et L'Amour and L'Abondance

TotalEnergies Foundation and the E&P branch are participating in two facets of a unique cultural project involving the Republic of Angola’s donation of two exquisite artworks to the Château de Versailles, culminating in a four-month exhibition at the Château de Versailles.

 

 

Zéphyr, Flore et L'Amour

L'Abondance

 

​February 4 marked the inauguration of the exhibition “Chefs-d'œuvre retrouvés” (Rediscovered Masterpieces), featuring two 18th century sculptures that had been commissioned by Louis XIV and Louis XV respectively: Zéphyr, Flore et l'Amour, by Philippe Bertrand, René Frémin and Jacques Bousseau, and L’Abondance by Lambert Sigisbert Adam. These works have now been added to the collections of the Château de Versailles after a long and arduous journey since they were looted during the Occupation. After the war, they were returned to the former abode of the rightful owner, Alphonse de Rothschild, whose house, the Hôtel Ephrussi de Rothschild, in the Avenue Foch in Paris, became the headquarters of the Embassy of Angola in 1979. The works were subsequently overlooked in the Embassy gardens until 2018, when the Republic of Angola decided to donate them to France in a gesture of international friendship and cooperation, thereby participating in the French state’s effort to recover the artistic heritage of the National Museum of the Château de Versailles and the Trianon.

Following this donation, the Château de Versailles invited TotalEnergies Foundation to support two components of four parts of a project stemming from conditions laid out by the Angolan state in return for donating the artworks. The two parts not supported by TotalEnergies Foundation are the exhibition itself, inaugurated on February 4 and to continue until June 5, and the restoration of the statues. The first of the parts TotalEnergies Foundation will be supporting involves the training of six Angolan professionals, mainly museum directors, in art museum management. The latter will travel to the Château de Versailles in the spring to attend a masterclass. At the same time, skilled curators from the Château de Versailles will also travel to Angola to help train local museum directors there. The E&P branch’s Angolan affiliate will be involved in the organization of this component. TotalEnergies Foundation will also support the manufacture of replicas of the artworks, which will take the place of the original statues in the gardens of the Embassy of Angola. This participation fits in perfectly with the dialogue of cultures component of the Foundation’s missions, in partnership with the Angolan affiliate. A one-day event will be held by the Foundation in April to invite around a hundred young people from backgrounds that would not normally provide them with the opportunity to gain access to such cultural activities and events with a series of art-related workshops.

Inauguration ceremony held on February 4, 2022

Renovation activities

In this official video, Heritage Curator Lionel Arsac recounts the fascinating story about how he traced these prestigious sculptures back to the Embassy of Angola in Paris. The restorers at the Château de Versailles also explain how they went about their painstaking work to bring the artworks back to their full glory.

 

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Press Release

Find the Presse Release of the Château de Versailles by clicking here