Les filles de Loth, 1957


Alongside his artistic activity, Émile Chambon was a compulsive collector. In his studio, he accumulated his own works and objects of curiosity - precious or otherwise - bought from gallery owners, dealers or small antique dealers, and sometimes even from the second-hand shops he frequented. His acquisitions do not follow an investment policy, but reflect his personal tastes.

In addition to a very large collection of works by Courbet (or often attributed to him), including L'Orée de la forêt, La Sieste (1844-45) and La Femme au Missel (circa 1850), he had a remarkable collection of primitive art objects, mainly from Gabon and Congo, brought back by his uncle François Coppier, a colonial administrator in Africa. Now housed at the Musée d'Ethnographie in Geneva, it comprises masks, statuettes, weapons and domestic objects, almost all of them from Black Africa or Oceania. 

Chambon also brings together a considerable number of paintings and drawings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, mostly from France, Italy and Holland. 

The Swiss section includes some great names such as Saint-Ours, de La Rive, Agasse, Diday, Barthélémy Menn and Vallotton, and Chambon has some fine drawings whose attribution is beyond doubt.

His collections also include paintings by his father, his uncles Marius and Lucien Coppier, and some of the painters he worked with, including Jean-Louis Gampert, Cila d'Aïre, Constant Rey-Millet, Albert Januarius di Decarli and Albert Chavaz, to name but a few.

Today, the Foundation Émile Chambon owns only a few remnants of these important collections, most of which were dispersed following the artist's death.