Via iPhone – Today, 15 September 2012, the Valpinçon & de Launay family gathered once again at the former family chateau in Ménil-Hubert-en-Exmes, in Normandie, and now a famous France historic landmark.
Once a year the Museums, gardens, and historic landmarks of France open free to the public. Since the former family Chateau is a private residence, it is only open during this one weekend a year. In July of this year, I had the pleasure of a private tour from the current owner, so we decided to return again today so my wife and daughter could visit the private grounds.
First purchased by my 2nd great-grand uncle, Augustin René Valpinçon in December 1822 from Comte La Pallu, it was eventually inherited by his grandson, Paul Valpinçon, the lifelong friend of Edgar Degas. The Valpinçon Chateau remained in the family until 1974 when it was finally sold.
Degas and Paul Valpinçon, were both born in Paris in 1834, and were schooled together in Paris at the famous Lycée Louis Le Grand. Degas visited the Valpinçon chateau at least as early as 1867 and included the interior of the chateau in several paintings, which included basic interior paintings and portraits of Paul, Paul’s wife, Marguerite, and daughter, Hortense. Degas would visit the Chateau until his death. One Degas painting, entitled “At the Races”, was a painting of Paul Valpinçon, Marguerite, an unnamed nanny, and Paul’s son Henri. It was painted at Haras du Pin, where horse racing still takes place today.
What the art world did not know until made public by MyFamilyJules.com was the family relationship between Paul Valpinçon and Gustave Caillebotte – who were 3rd cousins via their respective fathers, and at one time lived only 3 blocks from one another in Paris.
More history about the Valpinçon Chateau will be published in the future when I am not limited by my thumbs.