Fine Arts Museum at Pont-Aven !

So moving right along in my beautiful Brittany, I like to bring you to the coastal area and the fine arts extraordinaire! It is not far from me and have several posts in my blog on it. However, as usually me feel a single post on the museum is worth it. On a sunny day of 18C in my neck of the woods, let me re introduce you to the Fine Arts Museum at Pont Aven. Musée de Beaux-Arts de Pont-Aven.

The Fine Arts Museum is located in Pont-Aven, in the Finistère Dept 29 of Brittany.  Created in 1985, it aims to make known the painters who stayed in this city and made the reputation of the École de Pont-Aven and the Nabi movement. Paintings, drawings, watercolors by Paul Gauguin, Émile Bernard, Paul Sérusier allow the discovery of these pictorial movements of the late 19C.  The Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions highlighting certain themes or artists, mixing different styles and inspirations, from the Pont-Aven school to contemporary art.  Since 2012, the Museum has been transferred to Concarneau Cornouaille agglomeration which undertakes from 2013 its total renovation. The Museum, was enlarged from 850 to 2 000 m2 spread over seven levels at its reopening on 26 March 2016. I was there!!

Pont Aven

I have come here many years ago on the old property of Villa Julia (the museum de Pont Aven) and then it went into a long postponed prolonged period of renovation until finally open recently. We finally went inside the new one; a bit disappointed that it has been rebuilt in a contemporary modern look without any trace of its old turn of the century allure. Anyway, this is the place where the painters of the School of Pont Aven met, and the Nabis and the initial Americans and then the rest with its resident master Paul Gauguin.

The Villa Julia was for Julia Guillou who was a servants in the Hôtel des Voyageurs, after the death of the owner in 1871 she borrowed money from the residents  to buy the hotel.  She welcome all and had a good inside on the artists who visited the town, when she passed away in 1927 a huge crowd came in even from Paris.  The founders of the School of Pont Aven who to paint the beautiful country around and inside Pont Aven staying at this hotel since 1888 and at the nearby Pension Gloanec ; artists such as Paul Gauguin, Charles Filiger, Meijer de Haan, Claude-Emile Schuffeneker, Armand Seguin, and Wladyslaw Slewinski. 

The Americans came here first by 1850 and then the British, Australians, Scandinavians, Irish, and Dutch followed.

After 1888 the artists came in to be known as Nabis, such as Sérusier, Roussel, Vuillard, Lacombe and Filiger under the advice of Paul Gauguin, did painted here a lot.  All of this is shown in the museum with films, drawings and paintings from the artists. The plain Julia room is richly decorated in wood carving of the times. The museum is worth a detour for the art lover in all of us.

It was pleasure visits by some of the great painters of the time that made this museum possible. The first one was Jean-Baptiste Corot and his friends stay in 1862 on the Breton coast, in the small village of Pont-Aven, located between Concarneau and Quimperlé. In June 1886, Paul Gauguin made his first stay in Pont-Aven, on the advice of the friend Breton painter Armand Félix Marie Jobbé-Duval, as well as Pére Tanguy, his color merchant. Between 1887 and 1896, Paul Gauguin returned on numerous occasions and met Émile Bernard. They adopt new techniques of painting such as synthetics and compartmentalism, characterized by large flat, pure colors, surrounded by a black line and suppressing the classical perspective. Many painters joined them in Pont-Aven such as Paul Sérusier, Charles Filiger, Maxime Maufra, Henry Moret, and Ernest de Chamaillard, forming the École de Pont-Aven (school).

The Museum of Fine Arts of Pont Aven project really took off with the beginning of the construction and development work of the establishment in the autumn of 1984. The Museum of Fine Arts of Pont-Aven was inaugurated in  1985, and the renovations of the new museum started in 2013, the museum closed on September 15 2012 at night, and  re-opened again on March 26 2016.

The ground floor(1 fl US), apart from the traditional infrastructures (reception, crates, shops…) has an important resource center on the Pont-Aven school. On the first floor (2nd Fl US), the Julia room is named in honor of Julia Guillou, who built this hotel between 1881 and 1900, which later became the museum. This is the dining room of the old hotel, whose woodwork has been preserved and restored, to which three 21C luminaires of Matali Crasset have been added. This room serves as a reception room, Conference venue or concert hall. The second floor (3rd fl US) is dedicated to temporary exhibitions. The third level (4th fl US) presents the permanent exhibitions on the artists ‘ hostels, the chronology, Paul Gauguin, the founders of the Pont-Aven school, Japonisme, the Nabis and Pont-Aven after Gauguin.

Pont Aven

Pont Aven

pont aven

pont aven

pont aven

An indoor garden on the terrace is visible from the bright glazed hall that serves the levels of the museum, with plants referring to the works of the Pont-Aven school . An annex is integrated for the Museum’s reserves.

Born without a collection, the Museum of Fine Arts began an important acquisitions campaign from its inception. It currently has a fund of about 4 500 works of which half is dedicated to graphic arts (engravings, watercolors, pastels…). The scanned chronological period ranges from 1870  to the after 1900.  The collection includes works by artists of international recognition such as Émile Bernard, Maurice Denis, Paul Gauguin, Georges Lacombe, Paul Sérusier among others, but also lesser-known artists such as Pierre-Eugène Clairin, Émile Jourdan, Maurice Elin, and Marie Luplau. The fund also opened up to foreign artists such as Constantin Kousnetzoff, Carl Moser, and  Sydney Lough Thompson.

pont aven

pont aven

pont aven

pont aven

The Museum of Fine Arts of Pont-Aven today aims to make known the work of artists inspired by Brittany and more particularly by Pont-Aven, since the 1860’s  until the 1970’s, to develop a scientific work chronological period and to open up to contemporary creation. In 2016, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris signed a partnership with the Musée de Pont-Aven. The purpose of this sponsorship is to build a scientific partnership and to obtain more easily loans from the museum. Three other museums in France are partners of the Musée d’Orsay.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and I say its must are

Official museum of Pont Aven

Official Brittany assoc of museum on Pont Aven

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on Pont Aven museum

Tourist office of Brittany on Pont Aven museum

It is very nice town to walk especially along the river and quant shops and restos we have come to love. The museum is a must for all really. Enjoy the Pont Aven Fine Arts Museum!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

2 Comments to “Fine Arts Museum at Pont-Aven !”

  1. I think it is a great idea for a museum to promote local and contemporary artists as they will be the great masters of the future. Good foresight!

    Liked by 1 person

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