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Texas Collector’s Masterworks Gifted to Musée d’Orsay

Marlene and Spencer Hays
Marlene and Spencer Hays

Marlene and Spencer Hays

It was announced recently that art collectors and philanthropists Marlene and Spencer Hays have bequeathed 600 works to the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, France. Worth a total $384 million, the donation includes masterworks by Degas, Rodin, Bonnard, Vuillard, and many others. Currently, the museum has 187 of the 600 promised gifts—the rest will be donated after the couple’s death.

Mr. Hays was born into a poor family in Oklahoma before moving to Gainesville, Texas. He became a basketball player in high school and received a scholarship to attend Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. From there, he worked his way up in the publishing company Southwestern/Great American, eventually becoming its president.

Mr. and Mrs. Hays have been buying art since the early 1970s. Their collection interests initially focused on 19th and 20th century American art, but after visiting France, the couple set their sights on post-Impressionist works. The couple currently splits their time between their French-style home in Tennessee, and their apartment in New York.

To learn more about the collection, please go here.

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1 Response

  1. Norman Mahan

    I had seen this article in the NY Times a few days ago. I wasn’t familiar with the Hays so I did some Googling. Certainly a self made man, with lots of interests. What I am puzzled about is the reference to them being “a Texas couple.” This phrase even appears in the headline of “The Telegraph.” Yes, his youth was in Texas, he went to TCU and has donated significant sums to TCU. But it appears that their primary home is in Nashville, with a second home in New York. So….where does “Texas” come from?

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