Heir Denounces Fondation Beyeler’s Plan to Deaccession Donated Dubuffet Paintings

July 14th, 2021

Delphine Renard, daughter of late French auto exec Claude-Louis Renard and his wife Micheline, has slammed Switzerland’s Fondation Beyeler after learning that the museum plans to sell off four Jean Dubuffet paintings gifted to the institution by Micheline Renard in 2013.

“I am scandalized and extremely disappointed by what appears to me to be a misuse of my parents’ intentions,” Delphine Renard told Les Journal des Arts, which broke the news. “This collection was the work of their whole life; if they had simply wanted to support the foundation financially, they would have sold the paintings and given a check.” 

The paintings are among thirty-three twentieth-century works Micheline Renard, who with her husband was friends with museum founders Hildy and Ernst Beyeler, gave to the institution. Including works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sam Francis, Sigmar Polke, and Jean Tinguely, the trove was the subject of a 2013 exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, and of an accompanying illustrated catalogue.

“I would like to stress that the option of at some point selling individual works from the Renard collection was agreed with the donor,” a spokesperson for the Basel/Riehen–based foundation told Artnet News, admitting that there was “no current occasion” for the sale and that the reaped proceeds would be funneled toward the purchase of new works. The spokesperson additionally pointed to the fact the Dubuffet is well represented in the Fondation Beyeler’s collection outside of the donated works.

For her part, Delphine Renard contended that her mother “thought that she could trust the morality of the directors of the foundation so that the donated set would be preserved in its integrity,” adding, “I do not deny the legal basis for this sale, but dispute the morality.”