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Posts Tagged ‘Valpincon’


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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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.

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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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For those of you that remember that today is Pearl Harbor Day, I’ll give you another reason to remember something else that happened on this day in history.

Today, December 7th, in 1813, our ancestor, Professor Jules Gabriel Gaston Zoé de Launay was born to his parents, Jacques de Launay and Marie PINSON de Valpinçon. They resided at what is now No. 8, rue des Francs-Boureois, Paris, along a street that divides the 3rd and 4th Arondissements. Jacques parents lived just around the corner on rue du Foin, and this is were Jules’ uncle Jean de Launay died on 23 Dec 1816. I have begun to create a map on Google that will show you all of the family related places in Paris.

These three locations are the first. You can find the map here: http://g.co/maps/fkwr4, this way, if anyone ever goes to Paris and wants to do the family tour, you will have it all mapped out for you.

Eventually I’ll create a legend that will go with each location that will give more details than the limited space I’m given on Google maps. The map will take many months to create, as I do a little of it in between other research. I’ll add also photos that I’ve taken as I go along, in addition to the ones you may find on Google.

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I wrote a Post yesterday, explaining how Gustave Caillebotte and Edgar Degas really knew each other, on the Facebook page of the Degas House, Courtyard & Inn, and Edgar Degas Foundation of New Orleans, and so I thought that I should share it here.  Caillebotte and Degas met because of one man, Paul Valpinçon.  You see, Paul Valpinçon was Degas’ lifelong and dear friend, but he was also the cousin of Gustave Caillebotte, a fact which the families have not shared with the art world until now.  I’ve added a little further explanation along with appropriate photos or documents.

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Paul Valpinçon was born 29 Oct 1834 in Paris, though the family was originally from Normandy. The Degas painting “Madame Valpinçon” (1865) is of Paul’s wife Marguerite Claire (born Brinquant) Valpinçon. Edgar’s painting of their daughter, Hortense, is in the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Hortense and her younger brother, Henri (also painted by Degas), both died without children.

My 2nd great grand-uncle (Paul Valpinçon’s grandfather) René Valpinçon, bought the Menil-Hubert Chateau in Normandy in 1822.  This chateau was where Degas (formerly “de Gas”, which is how he still spelled his name, as late as 1891) did many of his paintings, including those of some of my Valpinçon cousins.

1891 - Shows Degas registered as "de Gas"

Paul Valpinçon is a third cousin of Gustave Caillebotte, and through whom Degas met Gustave, as well as neo-classical artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Ingres’ 1808 painting, “Valpinçon Bather” was named after Paul’s family, who owned it (a gift from Ingres) prior to it going to the Louvre in 1879, where it now resides.

Gustave Caillebotte  is a 3rd Cousins of my grandfather, Paul de Launay, while Paul Valpinçon. is a 2nd.  Paul de Launay was born 19 Oct 1878 in Paris and nearly adopted in 1892, along with his brother Gaston (1881-1836), by Gustave’s older brother Alfred (1834-1896), a Catholic priest, when the boys’ father, Professor Jules de Launay D.D., died on 24 March 1892 and left his wife and two boys destitute.  In addition to studying under Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at Académie Julian, Paul de Launay studied under one Gustave’s teachers, Léon Bonnat, at Musée du Luxembourg.

1899 "Victor Hugo Mort, after Bonnat", by Paul de Launay,

Jules de Launay was a 1st cousin to the father of Paul Valpinçon and a 2nd cousin to the father of Gustave Caillebotte. Those fathers names were Louis Augustin Edouard de Valpinçon (born 1807) and Martial Caillebotte (1799-1874) respectively. Jules de Launay also had become a Catholic priest in 1834 and served at the Vatican under Pope Gregory XVI from 1834 until he left the priesthood in 1839. Jules, rather famous later during his life, immigrated to the U.S. in 1841, but later returned to Paris in December 1877 as the first American Protestant missionary to France.

Since both he and his father were born in Paris, my grandfather, Paul de Launay (1878-1951), came to the U.S. as both a Frenchman and the son of an American.  My great-grandfather Jules de Launay (1813-1892) was in New Orleans in the 1840’s. His first wife was Anna Eliza Goodale (b. about 1826), daughter of Nathan Goodale (1792-1872).

Degas remained a close friend of Paul Valpinçon’s daughter, Hortense, and her husband Jacques Fourchy, until Degas’ death.

In 1900, Degas, with Hortense and her husband, Jacques Fourchy at the Valpinçon chateau at Menil-Hubert, Normandy.

Although Paul Valinçon’s line stopped with his children, and Gustave Caillebotte never had any children, the descendants and cousins of these Valpinçon, Caillebotte, and de Launay families  still get together over 100 years later.

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I can’t find it published online anywhere yet, but I’m told privately that the “Caillebotte Brothers Private World” exhibition is coming to Canada.  I hope I’m not spilling the beans.  I saw it at the Musee Jacquemart Andre in Paris back in March when it had just opened.  To a cousin of Gustave and Martial, I was more really interested in the family photos, which I had not yet seen.

I’m planning to attend the opening of the Montreal exhibition.  I’m hoping some of the de Launay descendants can make the trip to see not just the exhibition, but our Caillebotte descendant cousins, whom our families had lost touch with after the death of my great-grandmother, Annie de Launay in 1919.  My grandfather was just 15 years old, when Gustave died in 1894, but was already a painter and pianist himself by the age of 9, most likely following in his older cousins’ (Martial the pianist, and Gustave the painter) footsteps.

It’s getting close, so the dates should be announced soon.  I’ll repeat the official dates and location here on this blog when they are released, but I think it will open sometime in early October.

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