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Posts Tagged ‘impressionist’


Caillebotte Was Already A Celebrated Artist In The U.S. By 1894

Most art “historians” claim that Gustave Caillebotte, French Impressionist, was not known outside of France until after the middle of the 20th century.  That simply isn’t true.  Even in the small Texas town of Waco, Texas his death was noted in the Waco Evening News on March 26th, just barely a month after his death.  Here is the portion of the article noting his death, in 1894.

Waco evening news. (Waco, Tex.) 1891-1894, March 26, 1894, Page 8

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On 18 Dec 1819, Jules Pinson de Valpinçon, the 1st cousin and namesake of my great-grandfather Jules de Launay, married Adrienne Biennais at Église Saint Roch in Paris. Adrienne’s father, Martin Guillaume Biennais, created the 1804 crown jewels for Napoleon Bonaparte which are now on display at the Louvre.

Both of these Jules were 2nd cousins of the father of the French Impressionist artist, Gustave Caillebotte. In 1860, Gustave’s father, Martial Caillebotte, purchased property at Yerres for 134,000 francs plus about 9,000 in fees, from the Biennais Estate. This property is where Gustave did many of his paintings. So it was quite literally a sale between cousins.

Adrienne Adelaide Biennais – Madame Jules Valpincon. Grave is locate near the Caillebotte tomb in Pere Lachaise cemetery.

Source: http://www.MyFamilyJules.com.

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Gustave Caillebotte as a child. (L) 1849, (R) 1853.

Gustave Caillebotte as a child.
(L) 1849, (R) 1853.

Although this is, and always will be, the primary site for original content distributed by My Family Jules, we are expanding to also include a micro-blogging page (short snippets) on Tumblr.com

, because of the large number of Caillebotte fans that are blogging and re-blogging posts about our cousin, Gustave Caillebotte.  By doing so, we hope to reach more fans, to share with them the not-so-public and private information about the life and family connections of Gustave that made him such a unique figure in French art history.

Follow our Tumblr blog at http://www.CaillebotteFamily.com .

Also please take a moment to LIKE a new page on Facebook, the Friends of Caillebotte, a new group that has hopes of helping to fund the restoration of former properties owned or occupied by Gustave Caillebotte that have fallen on hard times and are beginning to show major problems, such at the property in Yerres.  You can find the Friends of Caillebotte at http://www.facebook.com/CaillebotteSociety.

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Gaston de Launay (ca. 1904-1906), when he was a Canadian Husser

My grandfather, Paul de Launay, who was born in Paris on 19 Oct 1878, married his first wife, Florence Grace Hensley (born 12 Nov 1866), 12 years his elder in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Paul was 24 years old.  His new bride was 36, a “cougar” by modern standards.

One night last year, as I was boarding a flight to Paris, I met a woman with the same uncommon last name as the one I was researching – “Hensley”, that of my step-grandmother, and then sat on a plane next to a Frenchman who gave me info on how to research my grand uncle Gaston de Launay’s French military record, even volunteering to check on the existence of the records himself.

So, as I checked in at the gate that night, I happened to notice that the agent’s last name was “Hensley”, which was coincidental since I was presently researching that same name, so it happened to be very fresh on my mind.

Married to my grandfather, Paul de Launay, on 20 June 1903 at the Bruton Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, Virginia,  Florence Grace Hensley died suddenly on 3 Jan 1907 due to breast cancer.  My grandfather, for some reason, kept this marriage to her a secret as best he could, and would always refer to her, as “My dear Aunt Flo”.

My grandmother, born Mabel Ray Beasley, was Paul’s third wife, and never learn of Paul’s marriage to Flo until after Paul’s death in 1951.  It became her obsession, and later mine, to learn as much about her as possible, and why Paul grieved for Flo for so long.  Though we’ve found many answers, we still have not found a photo of her.  It doesn’t look good, but I will continue to hold out hope that one day we’ll get to see the face that Paul loved so many years ago.

Steam Ship Haverford

SS Haverford

On the 1901 English Census in the Saint Lawrence Parish of Jersey Channel Island, I had found Florence Grace Hensley living with her brother Philip.  On 19 Nov 1902, Florence boarded the SS (for Steam Ship) Haverford, then an American Line in Liverpool, with her 49 year old sister, Emily Marianne Hensley, their 10-year old nephew Charles E. Bishop, and another unknown boy, Lionel W. Roberts.  Emily answered ‘yes’ to having been in the United States before.  Florence’s answer is unreadable regarding this.  All four stated there destination was to their sister and brother-in-law, Alice Mary (Hensley) and husband Charles Edward Bishop in Sandybrook, Williamsburg, Virginia.  The Haverford arrived in Philadelphia on 1 December 1902.

Finding this and other definitive clues, we connected with the descendants of Flo’s sisters, and other English cousins in the U.K., so there’s a slight feeling of connection to her.  Paul de Launay painted a nude, red-haired woman facing away from the artist.  Although there is no proof, as yet, we think this may have been Paul’s Flo.  There are other unnamed female Hensley faces in a photo album that Paul kept until his death.  It’s possible that her’s in among them.

During my conversation with the gate agent, I had asked her if she knew if she had any English relatives several generations back.  She indicated she did, and that they had settled in the Virginia area.  This was the same area I was looking for other Hensley’s.  She told me that the name was rather uncommon here in the States.  So I took her email with a promise to follow up, and I’ll do the same on this story, as new information is discovered.

Until then, I will continue to look for the face of Florence Grace (nee Hensley) de Launay, my Late step-grandmother.

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