PARIS - The brilliant career of the late collector Georges de Lastic, who was curator at both the Musée de la Vénerie in Senlis and the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris, was celebrated in an exhibition last year.

When De Lastic passed away in 1988, Anne-François, his only son, together with his mother, found himself in charge of Parentignat, outside of Clermont-Ferrand, the Lastic family home since the 18th century.


Journalist Valérie Bougault spoke to Anne-François about his desire to make his own contribution to this unique residence.

Valérie Bougault
: When your father died you inherited both Parentignat and a fine collection of 17th and 18th century paintings. At 23, did you feel ready to assume such a great inheritance?

Anne-François de Lastic: I was studying in America at the time and would probably have stayed there, as I had not only family connections, but also loved the dynamism there. My father’s death radically changed the course of things for me, but it was something he had prepared me for. Nonetheless he had always let me make my own decisions, and it actually took two years of careful consideration before I took over the management of Parentignat.

VB: So would you say you chose to inherit?

A-F de L
: My grandparents and great-grandparents never had to question such things, but the ability to choose changes the situation. By making the decision, you feel obliged to do better. Firstly, accepting this responsibility meant restoring, renovating and modernizing. Many things had not changed at Parentignat since the end of the 19th century, while the wiring dated back to the 1920s.

The upside is that it has retained a large portion of its original furnishings and paintings. About 10 years ago, we were able to move some of father’s collection – the paintings by Largillierre, Rigaud, Desportes – into rooms made especially for them and we are now working to expand the current visitor’s experience, so it becomes more dynamic and presents the public with the life of a 18th century residence.
I have worked with architects, engineers, landscape architects and craftsmen to pursue the best technical solutions and loved the process and the research.

VB: Did you have a feeling you were implementing values that belonged to your family?

A-F de L: Absolutely. My maternal grandfather, industrial and cultivated, bequeathed his home l’Abbaye de Royaumont to the Fondation pour le Progrès des Sciences de l’Homme, which he founded. Many of my childhood memories are associated with his home and his role as a patron. For him, a person’s intellectual or artistic qualities were always more important than any object, even if marvelous.

VB: Is that why you decided to also turn Parentignat into a Foundation?

A-F de L: I am convinced that the image of the family chateau is no longer enough to justify its existence. The residence needs to be given a meaning, through philanthropy and, if possible, through education. My mother and I believe in the terms and ambitions of this Foundation, which should not be too narrow.

Valérie Bougault, writes for L’Oeil and Connaissance des Arts and is author of Paris Montparnasse: The Heyday Of Modern Art, 1910-1940.

This is an edited version of the original interview in French, which can be read as part of the latest issue of 76 Faubourg magazine here.