Chateau de Beaufresne is Facing Demolition
This beautiful chateau outside of Paris was once the home of Mary Cassatt, one of America’s greatest painters. Cassatt lived there from 1894 until her death in 1926, and is in fact buried with her family nearby. I first wrote about my visit to this chateau here on this blog in 2014.
This beautiful chateau could face demolition as early as December, 2018.
In 1961, Cassatt’s niece donated the building and beautiful grounds to Le Moulin Vert, a not-for-profit group for the benefit of local teens. Le Moulin Vert reports that they are not able to afford the expenses associated with the upkeep and improvement of the building, and are exploring sale options. If the property is sold to a developer, the building will most likely be demolished. A group is working to prevent that, but they need help.
Les Amis de Mary Cassatt is a small local organization in the area of Le Mesnil Theribus (a northern suburb of Paris) which has been exploring the possibility of preserving the chateau and its grounds, with a long-term goal of using the chateau for art, education and tourism. They have commissioned a preliminary architectural plan and feasibility study. The chateau and property are reportedly on sale for less than $1million USD, but the cost of renovations could be twice that.
Imagine if the chateau were saved, renovated and turned into an artists’ retreat and conference center. I can speak on behalf of many women artists who would give their right arm to be able to paint on the same grounds as Mary Cassatt. It could be like Giverny, but devoted to artists and art historians who would like to honor Mary Cassatt’s legacy. In fact, Le Mesnil Theribus would make an excellent stop on an Impressionists Triangle of Greater Paris, including Giverny and Auvers due Oise, which are already tourist sites dedicated to Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. Isn’t it time to add a woman to that list?
Time is running out. A group of Americans is trying to help Les Amis de Mary Cassatt by alerting the French government and reaching out to international art lovers who would like to help preserve this beautiful gem. Please let us know with your comments below if you would like to join our urgent efforts.
Margie White, Founder, American Girls Art Club in Paris