Discover Fontevraud's modern art museum
The opening of the Fontevraud Modern Art Museum is one of the most anticipated cultural events of 2021 in the Atlantic Loire Valley. It was postponed several times in 2020 due to the Covid epidemic, but soon you will be able to browse the impressive collection of modern artworks in the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, a thousand-year-old building in Anjou just brimming with history.
The story of this unlikely union between modern art and an almost thousand-year-old abbey started 920 years after the abbey was founded. In September 2017 to be more precise! Martine and Léon Cligman, an art-collecting couple, decided to donate nearly 600 works of art from their collection to the French State and Atlantic Loire Valley. A few months later, 300 works from other collections followed in their footsteps.
A remarkable collection at Fontevraud Modern Art Museum
The unique collection boasts exceptional modern artworks including paintings, drawings and sculptures by artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, De Vlaminck, Van Dongen, Derain… These are just a few of the more prestigious names from art history whose work you will be able to admire at Fontevraud Modern Art Museum… You will also find some non-European artefacts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
This juxtaposition of shapes and uses originating from very different civilisations makes for an original, quality ensemble. It is a fabulous legacy, the fruit of two enthusiasts’ love of art and a lifetime together spent acquiring remarkable works whenever something captivated their attention during their travels and frequent visits to the most prestigious Parisian galleries.
From disparity to assemblage
Such an incredible collection could only be presented in an equally rare venue! The museum's scientific and cultural design was entrusted to Dominique Gagneux, chief curator of heritage, and scenographer Constance Guisset. At the core of this scenography, one idea stands out: assemblage from disparity, juxtaposition and opposition! The exhibition highlights the desire for eclecticism of these enlightened, humanist art lovers. It will show visitors how the couple found a kind of symmetry between the works in the collection.
As Mrs Gagneux puts it, “focusing on the dialogue between shapes, the future museum invites visitors to discover the collectors’ conceptual museum and a novel visual experience.”
All the collections, which cover 1,700 m2, are displayed in the building known as La Fannerie in the abbey's main courtyard. Located at the entrance to the site, this building once housed the stables of Fontevraud’s abbesses. It was restored under the guidance of Christophe Batard, chief architect of historic monuments. A joint reception area allows visitors to make their way to either the abbey or the modern art museum. They can thus choose to exclusively visit one or the other or buy a pass providing access to both attractions. There is no doubt that visiting both – old and modern – would be in keeping with the logic of juxtaposition governing the artworks that make up the Atlantic Loire Valley’s newest gem.