Newsletter of

Réunion des musées nationaux
n° 198
EJ 00 0198

National Museum
of Franco-American Cooperation
Château de Blérancourt
02300 Blérancourt

Recommended itinerary:
100 km by the autoroute du Nord;
Chevrière exit;
direction for Soissons.
At Trosly-Breuil, take the turn for Blérancourt.


open daily, except Tuesdays,
from 10 am. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m.

Admission: 10 F, 5 F

Group tours
with a lecturer
by appointment with Madame Maure

Subscribe to the " Petit Journal" for
special exhibitions.
Annual subscription rate (starting January 1989)
100 F in France
120 F in foreign countries

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The inauguration of the Florence Gould Wing brings to an end the first phase of the overall reorganization of the Blérancourt museum. This should not make us forget, however, that much remains to be done. It is true that the collections of Blérancourt are now on display : paintings, drawings, sculptures and engravings, many recently acquired, some on loan from Orsay or the Centre Georges Pompidou. But we know that they do not evoke in all its variety, originality and beauty, the art of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in the United States. Nor can we ignore the fact that these collections give only a small glimpse of the closeness and long history of the artistic relations between France and America. The task of the coming years will be to complete and enrich them so that Blérancourt will become the main source of information on the reciprocal contributions of French and American art.

Another task, every bit as important, will be to install in Wing A the historical displays on the War of Independence and American life in the 19th century. The laying-out of the gardens will also be completed and a room for temporary exhibitions built.

The Florence Gould Wing now opens its doors: it is the result of a close collaboration between French and American teams composed of friends, technicians, architects, administrators, diplomats and curators. To mention the names of all those who helped in this project would fill the entire Petit Journal. Needless to say, we give them our warm thanks. We are especially grateful to the many volunteers, both French and American, who participated in this project. They have proved that Franco-American cooperation and friendship are not empty words.

Pierre Rosenberg
Inspecteur général des musées de france
chargé du musée national de la coopération franco-américaine

George Catlin,
Ball playing of the Choctaw, c. 1835.

The opening of the Florence Gould Wing at the Musée National de la Coopération Franco-Américaine marks the beginning of the overall reorganization of the museum initiated by Pierre Rosenberg and made possible by the Direction des Musées de France, the American Friends of Blérancourt and the Amis du Musée de Blérancourt. This reorganization should be seen as part of a more general scheme. Space in the museum will be distributed between the two main themes of the museum, art and history, in the following way.

Wing A, still being planned, will present the beginnings of the history of Franco-American relations from the 17th century to the end of the 19th century, with special emphasis on the War of Independence, a period which is particularly well represented in the museum's collections.

In the new Florence Gould Wing, the history of Franco-American relations is continued, from the beginning of the 20th century to the Second World War, with particular emphasis on American humanitarian aid to France during the Great War. To this long historical development, which was the original theme of the museum, Pierre Rosenberg wished to add a parallel retracing of the history of a century and a half of artistic exchanges between France and America.

William T. Dannat, The Spanish Smuggler, Salon of 1883.

John S. Sargent, Viscountess de Poïlloue Saint-Périer, 1883.

Richard Miller, Dressing, Salon of 1905.

Frederick C. Frieseke, In Front of the Mirror, 1903.

Paul Manship, Dancer and gazelles, 1916.

Romaine Brooks, Jean Cocteau
at the Time of the Grande Roue,
c. 1912.

Alexander Hogue, The last survivor, 1936.

John Storrs, Untitled, 1937.

Alexander Calder, Untitled, c. 1935.


At the present time, the tour of the Florence Gould Wing begins on the garden level, with the rooms devoted to works of art on the ground floor and mezzanine.

The core of the collection is composed of a selection of American works purchased by the French government from the 19th century until 1945. Thanks to the kind loans of the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée National d'Art Moderne and the Fonds National d'Art Contemporain (the descendant of the Bureau des Travaux d'Art created under the Third Republic), we are able to illustrate a brief history of French taste in American painting and sculpture. Naturally, the major works have not left the walls of their respective museums; hence the absence of the one Whistler, the one Homer, and the one Eakins in the national collections. For the 20th century, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, for instance, are still displayed at the Centre Georges Pompidou. Nevertheless, the Musée National de la Coopération Franco-Américaine will remain faithful to its goal of becoming the American Department of the National Museums and will try to fill these gaps, insofar as this is possible.

The idea of this kind of department is not a new one; back in 1922, the Musée du Luxembourg (then the museum of living artists), because of lack of space, opened an annex at the Jeu de Paume for foreign art, in which American artists were of course well represented (in part from loans made by private collectors).

The origins of these purchases by the State are often easy to determine. Many of these American artists lived in France for several years (such as Cassatt, regretfully absent from our collections, Dannat, MacMonnies, etc.) and exhibited regularly, either at the annual Salons or in galleries (some of which, like the Galerie Georges Petit, had strong American contingents). There were also the Universal Expositions in Paris, where the French Beaux-Arts inspectors responsible for purchases could see the works of artists less well known in France (the American pavillon was regularly the largest foreign section in Paris until 1900). Finally, commissioners of the French section at Universal Expositions held in the United States sometimes took advantage of their visit to make new acquisitions (especially in 1939).

The absence of painters like Bierstadt and Church, and of sculptors like Powers and Rogers, in the French national collections of American art is explained by the fact that most of these acquisitions occurred after 1870, at which time the American colony in France began to thrive (in Paris, Brittany, and later around Monet in Giverny) ; priority was then given to the purchase of contemporary works executed in France, and often done in the French taste.

This American collection should therefore be appreciated for what it is now: not a faithful reflection of the entire history of American art, nor even of American art done in France (considering the absence of Cassatt, Whistler, Butler, Saint-Gaudens, Man Ray, etc.), but as a sketch of what the future collection will be, combining American works related historically to France with the other aspect of the collection: the works of French artists who worked n the United States.

This second aspect of the collection, whose purpose is to put the first into perspective and to dispel the false, but widespread, notion according to which only American artists succumbed to the appeal of the transatlantic crossing (in the 19th century, anyway), is not very developed yet. The French state never had any particular purchasing policy in this respect, and it goes without saying that works made in the United States by French artists who settled there only rarely made their way to France: they are for the most part in American museums, unknown to the French public. The big names in modern art are also absent: the few American works by Gleizes, Picabia, and Duchamp in French collections will stay in the Musée National d'Art Moderne. Be that as it may, nostalgia or gratitude towards their native country led certain artists less well known to make gifts to French museums, and loans of these and generous gifts, along with our recent purchases (sometimes made from heirs), form the core of the French collection, which we hope to expand in the near future.

Hippolyte Victor Sebron,
Broadway Line, Salon of 1855.

J. André Castaigne,
Baltimore harbour, c. 1890.

Carlo Sarrabezolles,
Portrait of Mrs Dupont de Nemours, 1931.

Jacques Mauny,
Baseball, c. 1925.

Alfred Courmes,
Portrait of Peggy Guggenheim, 1926.

Jules Chéret,
Poster advertising Loïe Fuller's show, c. 1920.


FROM 1914 TO 1945

After leaving the rooms devoted to art, the visit continues in the basement with the end of the historical section. Six rooms are devoted to the memory of the Americans who could not let France face the German invasions of 1914 and 1939 alone.

In four rooms are displayed documents, photographs, paintings, objects and memorabilia connected with the work of the American Field Service.

Ambulance of
the American Field service,

The American Ambulance
at the lycée Pasteur in Neuilly, c.

The origins of the A.F.S. go back to the American Ambulance volunteers who served in 1870. In August 1914, this service was reformed and based at the then unfinished Lycée Pasteur in Neuilly, which was put at the disposal of Americans by the French government. The Ford factory in Paris provided the first automobiles, and they were driven by French, American and English drivers. At the beginning of the war, the ambulance service was placed under the authority of the American Hospital in Neuilly. Starting in March 1915, under the direction of A. Piatt Andrew, this service was further developed and took on its own identity, breaking away from the American Hospital in 1916. With its newfound independence, the American Field Service was able to work in the direction hoped for by Andrew: operating with American drivers and with American funds, it was integrated into the French army (by a contract with its own automobile service) and so could work on the front, or in the field, as it was also called. In July 1916, the A.F.S. took up quarters in a private townhouse in Passy, at 21, rue Raynouard, which was generously lent by the Countess de la Villestreux and the Hottinguer family. The automobile pool was located nearby in Boulogne. The American drivers signed up for a period of at least six months, paid for their transportation and uniform, but were provided with meals and a salary by the French army.

Recruiting was very active in American universities: in 1917, the A.F.S. had 2 500 volunteers.

In 1917, an agreement was signed by Mrs. Vanderbilt, Anne T. Morgan and A. Piatt Andrew joining the forces of the A.F.S. and the American Fund for French Wounded : the latter agreed to give assistance to damaged automobiles and to care for the drivers and wounded transported by the A.F.S. on their way back from the front.

With the entry of the United States in the war in April 1917, the situation changed: in addition to the humanitarian work of the A.F.S., which consisted until then of coming to the aid of wounded French soldiers and transporting them to field hospitals, a section called the Mallet Reserve (named after the French commander, Richard Mallet) was created to transport troops and munitions to the front. Thus the A.F.S. took an active part in the conflict and reinforced the transport services of the French army. The Mallet Reserve was incorporated into the American army in October 1917, but continued to operate within the framework of the French army: by the end of the war, it had transported several hundred thousand soldiers to the front and over 6 million shells.

Between the two wars, the A.F.S. became an organization for cultural exchange between France and the United States, but as soon as the Second World War broke out, veterans of the Great War decided to reform the Ambulance Service under the direction of Stephen Galatti. With the fall and occupation of France, the A.F.S. transferred its headquarters to England; from then on, the history of the A.F.S. was no longer to be limited only to France and America, but became truly international, as its program of cultural exchange has been since 1945.

One room is devoted to other prominent figures and events in Franco-American Cooperation since 1914: the charity work of the Fatherless Children of France, the Phare de France, founded by Mrs. Winifred Holt, and especially the American Fund for French Wounded, the civilian branch of which, the Comité Américain pour les Régions Dévastées de la France (C.A.R.D.) was run by Anne T. Morgan.

Malvina Hoffmann,
Portrait of Anne Morgan, 1942.

Anne T. Morgan, the daughter of the financier J.P. Morgan, decided in 1916 to come to France to assist the civilian population directly. She chose as her field of action the Aisne, a department which had been almost completely devastated, and set up her headquarters near the ruins of the Château de Blérancourt. Unlike the A.F.S., which gave assistance to soldiers at the front, the C.A.R.D. developed its varied activities among the civilians: reconstructing, providing food and health care. The C.A.R.D. also helped prepare for the postwar period with educational programs : courses in child care, home economics, books for children and adults, and even a library bus.

These activities did not stop in 1918, so great was the work to be done, and the C.A.R.D. was dissolved only in 1923. In the meantime, Anne Morgan and Anne Murray Dike, the vice president of the C.A.R.D. for France, had acquired and started restoring the Château de Blérancourt, which they hoped to turn into a museum to preserve the memory of Franco-American Cooperation through the centuries. Wing A was opened first, with exhibits commemorating French aid during the War of Independence, then in 1933 a "war museum" (on the First World War) in what was to become the Florence Could Wing. A project for expanding this wing was interrupted in 1939 by the outbreak of war and is today completed, slightly altered, fifty years later. With the death of Mrs. Dike in 1927, Anne Morgan donated the museum to the municipality of Blérancourt, which in turn gave the major part of it to the State. Anne Morgan however continued to manifest her interest in the Blérancourt castle and region, both materially and physically; in 1939, the CARD resumed its services under the name of C.A.S.C. (Comité Américain de Secours Civil), and until 1952, Anne Morgan returned regularly to Blérancourt. In her will, she bequeathed a sizeable sum to the municipality.

Another room in the museum is devoted to the Lafayette Escadrille which was organized in April 1918 by American pilots, including Norman Prince, to give support to the French air force. It was composed of Americans and a few Frenchmen and was placed under the command of Capitaine Thénault. The first American members came from the Foreign Legion, or even the A.F.S. ; most of the volunteers were recruited in the same East Coast colleges and background as those who joined the A.F.S. Their heroism has become legendary.

Julien Monier, American Field Service member helping a French soldier. The Cathedral of Rheims undergoing reconstruction, 1925.

The last room presents exhibits on the Second World War, as well as on the period between the two world wars, with the considerable financial aid contributed by wealthy americans for the reconstruction of France --- Rockefeller for Rheims and Fontainebleau, Blumenthal for the Bibliothèque Nationale, etc. --- and the evocation of the numerous monuments erected to commemorate the toll in human lives that was paid by the United States in the service of Franco-American Cooperation.

1. Parking

2. Tickets

3. Washington by Houdon

4 & 5. Gardens of American Plants

6. A. Piatt Andrew Mémorial

7. Arboretum

8. Museum Library and Archives

9. Anne Morgan Pavilion and Drawing Room ---Drawings Dept.

10. Historical Pavilion (Pavilion A)

11. Florence Gould pavilion

12. American Sculpture Garden


1. AFS 1914-16 -

2. AFS 1916-17

3. Anne Morgan

4. Verdun

5. Réserve Mallet---USAAS

6. Escadrille Lafayette---Aviation

7. Between-the-two-wars and 1939-45

Yves Lion and Allan Levitt, architects, with the assistance of Christiane Luc, are responsible for the extension and refurbishing of the Florence Gould Wing. The layout of the historical section in the basement is due to Jean-Paul Boulanger, for Pylône.



The museum staff wishes to extend their warmest thanks to all who made the opening of the Florence Gould Wing possible, especially the following benefactors:

Florence Gould Foundation, American Friends of Blérancourt, Association des Amis de Blérancourt, American Express, AT&T, M. Pierre Bergé, Cartier, Chanel, Château Haut-Brion, Christian Dior, Coca-Cola France, Dillon Fund, Domaines Baron de Rothschild, Groupe Expansion, Mr et Mrs John H. Gutfreund, International Herald Tribune, John Mark Rudkin Charitable Foundation, Kaufman & Broad, Louis Vuitton, Marwais, Matra-Hachette, Moët-Hennessy, Morgan Guaranty Trust, Nina Ricci, Pan Am, Mrs Anne Reed, Shearson and Lehman, United Technologies Corporation, Mrs Charles Wrightsman, baronne van Zuylen,

as well as those who helped us in many ways in this project:

MM. Olivier Chevrillon, Directeur des Musées de France, René Vial, Préfet de l'Aisne, Pierre Chassigneux, Préfet de l'Oise, Charles Brazier, Président du Conseil général de l'Aisne, Charles Baur, Président du Conseil régional de Picardie, Bernard Le Clère, Sous-préfet de Senlis, Jean-Marie Jeun, Directeur des Affaires Culturelles de Picardie, Gaston Dessoubrie, Maire de Blérancourt, Mmes la baronne Mary Sargent d'Anglejan-Chatillon, Eugénie Anglès, le Dr Christine Baltay, Barbara Bartholin, Irène Bizot, le Dr Annette Blaugrund, Françoise Cachin, Denise Cardinet, Aime-Laure Carré, Françoise Combelles, Laurence Détroyat, Janine Durand-Révillon, le Dr Lois Fink, Florence de Foucault, Gillet, Susan Grant, Paule Heuzet, le Dr Catherine Ingold, Nina Kearns, Lini Janssens, Louis, Della Meyers, la duchesse de Mouchy, Nancy Ornek, la marquise de Ravenel, Sheila de Rochambeau, Nancy de la Selle, Lyndall de Turenne, le Pr H. Barbara Weinberg, et MM. Alan Albright, Michel Amilhat, Michel Barthet, Dominique Bozo, Arthur Breton, Dominique Brunon, Jean-Pierre Defresne, Jacques Deschamps, William Foley, The Honorable Evan Galbraith, Lawrence Geller, René Klein, Hubert Landais, Yves Le Cone, Le Nhat Binh, Son Excellence Emmanuel de Margerie, Jean-Hubert Martin, William Orrick, Marcel Patrice, Denis Pellegrina, Michel Poivert, Russell Porter Esq., Serge Proust, Bernard Renoult, John II Riggs Esq., The Honorable Joe M. Rodgers, Philippe Rouer, Mark Rudkin, Bernard Schoebel, le baron Ernest-Antoine Seillière, Gérard Turpin, Nicolas Ver Hulst, Jacques de Viéville, Jean-Pierre Wavreille.

In addition, we wish to thank for their generous support of the creation of the new gardens:

The Colonial Dames of America, Chapter IV, Paris, et Chapters II, IV, XVII et XVIII, Etats-Unis; Madison Cox, Michel Boulcourt, Mark Rudkin, et Mrs John H. Crichton.

Le Petit Journal
a été rédigé par Véronique Wiesinger,
conservateur au Musée national de la coopération franco-américaine.

Translation : Jean-Marie Clarke.

Maquette : Jean-Pierre Jauneau.

Photocomposition, photogravure et
impression: Imprimerie Marchand. Paris