American couple pledge $380 million art donation to France

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2016 11:41 AM

PARIS (AP) — France's President Francois Hollande is honoring an American couple for pledging the largest foreign collection of art to be donated to France since World War II.

Texans Marlene and Spencer Hays are bequeathing to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris some 600 works dating from the second half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century.

France's culture ministry has estimated the value of the collection, which includes pieces by Modigliani and Maillol, at 350 million euros ($381 million).

Spencer Hays is scheduled to speak at a donation ceremony on Saturday night, when Hollande plans to award Hays and his wife the Legion of Honor — France's highest civilian award.

The wealthy couple began collecting art in the 1970s and intends to donate the works posthumously.