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Origins

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Esprit Calvet

Esprit Calvet

Esprit Calvet was born in Avignon on November 24, 1728 ; he descended from an ancient family which had its roots in the papal city since the fifteenth century. A great collector, Esprit Calvet was very aware of the greatnesses and weaknesses of human nature and believed, in a humanistic approach, in the perfectibility of man.

Although very attached to his personal library, he hoped very soon to bequeath his property to the public, to enable its access to the "Enlightenment". This is how he came to the very avant-gardeidea of a democratic institution offering the public a place of access to knowledge.

In his will, he annexed to the library his cabinets of ancient medals, his personal effects, his collection of natural history and all of its properties. He demanded the creation of a Council said "of the eight" responsible to administer his property. This was how was born what was, beyond perhaps the hopes of its founder, to perpetuate his work by becoming the "Calvet Foundation".


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Holograph will of Esprit Calvet

Holograph will of Esprit Calvet

Promise of a glorious future

Over time, with the bequests, donations, acquisitions and successive filings, the Foundation would grow to eventually accommodate at prestigious buildings in Avignon and Cavaillon, several major museums, covering all areas of art. Thanks to the daily work of its directors and curators, and also to the strong support of the town of Avignon for nearly two centuries, the Foundation is now one of the cultural landmarks of the city, in Provence and in France.