HISTORY OF THE COLLECTIONS
Two major figures are behind the outstanding collection of sculptures seen here: Esprit Calvet (1728-1810) and Esprit Requien (1788-1851). Esprit Requien, a trustee of the Calvet Foundation between 1838 and 1851, made many acquisitions during the first half of the 19th century. In 1841, he tenaciously negotiated the purchase of part of the Nani collection, one of the most beautiful 18th-century Venetian collections of ancient works which was dismantled in the early 19th century then sold to major European and American museums.
Many archaeological finds were excavated in Avignon and Vaucluse in the mid-1800's. With help from the French government, the Calvet Foundation funded some of the excavations taking place in Vaison-la-Romaine in 1835-1838 and in 1840-1842 throughout Vaucluse (Apt, Orange). Important acquisitions of statues and reliefs were made during this period, such as the 1843 purchase of the Gaul warrior from Mondragon, and the 1849 purchase of the "Tarasque" monster from Noves. Acquisitions slowed in the 1900's. However, in 1919 the museum acquired one of its most famous works, the boat-towing scene from Cabrières d'Aygues, left to the Calvet Foundation by Marc Deydier, a lawyer from Cucuron.
The Calvet Foundation has resumed a dynamic antiquities acquisitions policy, and the collection continues to thrive and to grow.