Home > Current events > Our Summer Exhibitions Northern France



The summer invites us to either discover artists who deserve to be better known, such as Harbuger, Malaval or Charles Pollock, or to revisit those whose reputations are well established such as Majorelle or Maurice Denis, while offering a rich contemporary aspect.

Lilian Bourgeat, Dispositif promotionnel n°1, 2001 © photo : Lilian Bourgeat / CNAP (from exhibition at Conservatoire de l'agriculture, Chartres)


SAINT-LOUIS – It is no surprise the first exhibition in Alsace by Ronan Barrot sets up his canvases quite near the famous altarpiece of Grünewald, in the Espace contemporain of Fernet-Branca which hosted in the past one of the artist’s major figures, Paul Rebeyrolle. In some sixty paintings, it offers a practically complete panorama of is production.

  • Espace d’art contemporain Fernet-Branca, until August 16
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    SOISSONS – The exhibition in Soissons developed on two sites (Arsenal and Saint-Léger) is the third part of a retrospective presented in four French museums. Following the museums of Orléans and Gravelines, the museums of Soissons and Quimper take a look at other facets of François Béalu’s creation, made of constant journeys back and forth between the body and the landscape.

  • Musée de Soissons, until September 6
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    PONT-AVEN – Born in Granville, Maurice Denis built a strong link to Brittany since 1888, in the context of the school of Pont-Aven, of his admiration for Gauguin and his friendship with Sérusier (with whom he founded the Nabi movement). The link would last a long time, though it changed quarters. Once he converted to classicism, Maurice Denis abandoned somewhat Pont-Aven and spent his family vacations at Perros-Guirec. There he bought villa Silencio in 1908, and welcomed among others Gide and Valéry. This exhibition, which aims at presenting the results of this Briton inspiration, is presented in two parts: at Pont-Aven, the Synthetism works, clearly influenced by Gauguin; at the house in Roche Jagu, the later paintings, of which many lent by his family have never been shown before to the public: beach views, crosses or sacred compositions such as his Magnificat from 1909.

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts et Domaine départemental de la Roche-Jagu, until October 5
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    CAEN – Normandy, the destination tourists preferred since the beginning of the XIXth century, deserved being the object of an exhibition of synthesis. It analyses its genesis and its durability as a land of leisure, by bringing together collections that at times are unusual, often unknown, from Eastern to Western Normandy, but also from England, the cradle of the fashion of sea resorts and leisure in Europe in the XVIIIth century.

  • Musée de Normandie, until October 31
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    CHALON-SUR-SAÔNE – The sculptures by Jean-Louis Faure are mental images that take shape. The artist includes in them the concepts and the lessons of the history of art and a few philosophical principles. A witness of his century, Jean-Louis Faure builds a criticism of the modern world. His sculptures are a link with this world. From small histories to History with a big H, pathetic anecdotes, to the blunders and crimes of the century, each work continues to remember.

  • Musée Denon, until September 28
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    PORT-LOUIS – Exotic motives, glistening colours, freshness of the material: from the shores of India to the kingdom of France, going through Persia, the museum of the Compagnie des Indes invites the visitor to discover the printed Indian cotton materials from its funds and that of the museum of prints on materials in Mulhouse. The exhibit beacons the visitor to experience the wonder Europeans of the XVIIth century went through when they saw for the first time these textiles whose manufacturing secrets – cotton spinning and weaving, painting and print on cloth – were then unknown in Europe.

  • Musée de la Compagnie des Indes, until December 14
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    SAINT-CLAUDE – The exhibition «Franche-Comté and the first Roman art. Religious architecture in Europe around the year one thousand», co-produced with the Musée d’Archéologie du Jura in Lons-le-Saunier, is a follow-up to the international symposiumLe « premier art roman » cent ans après. La construction entre Saône et Pô autour de l’an mil. Etudes comparatives, (The «first Roman art» one hundred years later. Construction between the Saône and the Pô around the year one thousand. Comparative studies) organized at Baume-les-Messieurs and Saint-Claude from 18 to 21 June 2009. It brings together the contributions of various researchers in the fields of art history and archaeology of what is built to the first Roman art. This new art of building in the first half of the XIth century is particularly well represented in Franche-Comté and its region of influence spread from Catalonia to Northern Italy, from the Pô valley to those of the Rhine and the Meuse rivers.

  • Musée de l’Abbaye / Donations Guy Bardone – René Genis, until September 20
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    VIC-SUR-SEILLE – This little town in the Moselle region is known for being the birth place of Georges de La Tour. The museum that bears his name and which houses his famous Saint John the Baptist in the desert and a collection of French, XVII century painting, is temporarily widening its centres of interest. Until the end of the summer it will be hosting an exhibition dedicated to another native artist, Emile Gallé, and to the influence of Japan on his work. In order to track down the anemones, the begonias, the mayflies, the carps and the pelicans he disseminated throughout his vases and cups, the director of the museum, Gabriel Diss, has taken on an original curator, François Le Tacon, a doctor in microbiology. Gallé’s Japanism is dissected in more than 150 pieces – ceramics, preliminary drawings, work on glass – that come from Japan, Russia, Denmark, Germany and various French museums.

  • Musée départemental Georges de La Tour, until August 30
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    BEAUVAIS – Painter Francis Harburger remained volontarily marginal to the history of modern art of while nevertheless its careful witness. Today he appears like a vehemently independent and passionate artist when it comes to the question of representing an object. The result of a close collaboration between the museums La Piscine in Roubaix, the Musée Villa Montebello in Trouville sur-Mer and the Musée départemental de l'Oise in Beauvais, this exhibition brings together some sixty works on loan from private collections. These assemblages reveal, through note books and preparatory drawings, the artist’s method, the initiator of an attractive theory of the look on the subject and the motif.

  • Musée départemental de l’Oise, until October 31
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    NANCY – For the first time, the Majorelle history is the subject of a retrospective in his native town. Beyond the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Louis Majorelle (1859-1926), the exhibition «Majorelle, un art de vivre moderne» gives life to the artist’s work and his study, from the first signs of Art nouveau to the modernist vocabulary of the 1930s-1940s, in a succession of styles that gave shape to a reputation of elegance and quality. Louis Majorelle liked to define himself as an «art manufacturer»: his production associates and claims art furniture as well as that made in series, distributed around the world through a successful sales organization. The company initiated by Louis was pursued by his brothers and former collaborators, until the workshops closed definitely in 1956.

  • Galeries Poirel, until August 30
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    ANGERS – The musée des Beaux-Arts in Angers hosts for the first time some one hundred works by Robert Malaval. This exceptional retrospective presents works – be it paintings, drawings or sculptures – from private collections, from French museums - the centre Georges Pompidou, the museums of Nice, Dunkerque, Chartres. The galleries or former galleries Robert Malaval collaborated with are equally well represented, in particular those of Alphonse Chave, Yvon Lambert, Daniel Gervis, Pierre Nahon or Baudoin Lebon.

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts, until October 25
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    ÉPINAL - The paintings of the great masters presented thanks to the captures during the Revolution and by Napoleon at the Louvre - Raphaël, Vinci, Rubens, Reni, Santerre… - have been a huge repertoire of models for popular imagery. The musée de l’Image has chosen some one hundred pieces from its collection and tells a story of the taste, of the artistic policies and of the reproduction of works of art in the XIXth century. The contemporary artists’ whose works slide in discreetly throughout the exhibition, accompany, deviate and refuse the looks we set on the masterpieces.

  • Musée de l’Image, until November 11
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    SAINT-LOUIS – Presented in Saint Louis at the Espace d’Art Contemporain Fernet Branca, this is the first important international exhibition dedicated to the American painter Charles Pollock, only known until now for being the brother of Jackson Pollock. It has conquered a wide international public, attracted by the discovery of an unknown painter, who was very closely involved with the history of American abstract art.

  • Espace d’art contemporain Fernet-Branca, until August 16
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    AZAY – Our ancestors knew the myth well, since it has always fed the imagination of artists, composers and writers (from Apulia to Rafaello and Clément Janequin). Beautiful Psyche so wished to see her lover’s face even though it was forbidden. She stared at him one evening, under the light of a candle. A drop of wax fell and woke him up. He ran away and took with him love that is so fragile. This is a Platonic theme if ever there was one, and has been dealt with over and over again, including by Cocteau, in la Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast). The castle of Azay has grouped together some one hundred different versions: Greek marbles, Etruscan bronze lamps, ivory cameos, enamels from Limoges, drawings by Jules Romain, hangings from Brussels, Wedgwood porcelains, even andirons from Thomire and the irreplaceable psyche, the much prized mobile mirror of the XIXth century …

  • Castle of Azay-le-Rideau, until August 30
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    TROYES - Saint Barbe, saint Eloi or saint Christopher, no longer mean anything to our contemporaries. In the XVIth century, the faithful immediately recognized, under the porch or inside the places of worship, thanks to their sculpted attributes, the tower, the pliers or the Christ. The Champagne region was remarkably creative, at the crossroads of Flemish, German and Italian influences. It is the moment of the passage from Gothic to Mannerism that the exhibition refers to, by chosing a gathering in situ, in a church restaured for this occasion, Saint-Jean-au-Marché. The 94 statues, of which two thirds have also been restaured, come from New York, Cleveland, London or Paris.

  • Eglise Saint-Jean-au-Marché, until October 25
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    CHARTRES - The COMPA, the Conservatory of agriculture, presents an exhibit of contemporary art on the theme of water and sustainable development, by welcoming eight known artists. The theme allows us to look into environmental matters as well as to explore the unbalances that are at work between natural resources and man’s habits. This subject of balance is a challenge for the century that is just beginning.

  • Le COMPA, Conservatoire de l’agriculture, until October 31
    Read the article (in French) on artaujourdhui.info