Behind the scenes at the future modern art museum in Fontevraud

In spring of 2020, the Val de Loire's Royal Abbey of Fontevraud will welcome the private collection of Martine and Léon Cligman in the brand-new modern art museum. Works from Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Rodin illustrate the progression of this couple's collection. Come along and discover this amazing scenography in this brand new jewel of France's art museums.

Fifty years: this is how long it took Martine and Léon Cligman to put together their inestimable collection of modern art, from paintings, sculptures, tapestries and other objets d'art. This life's opus was formed by the former textile magnate's work (Léon) and the artist's passion (Martine, also known as Martine Martine).

In spring 2020, 900 works from the Cligman's private collection will hang on the walls of the new museum in the enclosure of Fontevraud Abbey in the Val de Loire. Among these, 100 of which are 19th and 20th century paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Soutine and Delaunay, and 20 are sculptures by Rodin or Germaine Richier.

The Fannerie, the former stables of the mothers abbesses of the Fontevraud, will be the historical building welcoming the museum. The first two levels of the of the 1 000 m² (10763 ft²) building serve as the screen for the permanent collection, and the more autonomous third level will be dedicated to temporary exhibitions.

In the heart of the Cligman collection

The scenography, entrusted to designer Constance Guisset, will focus on restoring the history of the art through the lense of a collector. Visitors are invited into the world of the Cligmans to discover their taste and the logic behind their acquisitions. Certain rooms will be dedicated to an artist, a movement, or a technique, while others will be grouped according to shared sensibilities in order to account for the gaze of those who gathered them.

This is the ideal occasion to explore the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, one of the largest monastic communities of the Middle Ages, made further incredible by the fact that the mixed religious population here was led by abbesses, not monks.

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Getting to Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud in the Loire Valley