Quimper and its Fine Arts Museum!

Here I go again with some information on one of my favorite cities in my lovely region of Bretagne. Of course, I have written several pieces on it in my blog, but fell that the Fine Arts Museum which is gorgeous have been left out mostly. Therefore, here is my take on the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper. And of course, in dept 29 of Finistére!

The Quimper Museum of Fine Arts  was born in 1864, thanks to Count Jean-Marie de Silguy who bequeathed his entire collection to his hometown, on the sole condition that a museum be built there to accommodate his paintings and drawings. Today it is one of the main art museums in the west of France, presenting rich collections of French painting (especially from the 19C), Italian, Flemish and Dutch from the 14C to the present day.

quimper musee beaux arts feb13

The museum is built on the main square of Quimper and opposite the Cathedral on adjoining plots of the new city/town hall acquired by the City in 1866.  Work began in 1869 and the museum was inaugurated on August 15, 1872. Behind the intact facade, the museum has been completely redone according to resolutely modern architectural choices, based on the principle of transparency, allowing better exposure of the works and a significant gain in surface area. Since the renovation, 700 works are on permanent display while a specific space dedicated to temporary exhibitions has been created. The museum also has an auditorium, a reception service and a bookshop-shop.

You have the wonderful Musée des Beaux-Arts or fine arts museum, small but can rival with any. It is very well located in city center just opposite the Cathedral(see post). It has a wonderful boutique shop for gifts and books ,paintings etc. You get a map of the museum and booklet, the map show you in sequence all the rooms to visit , and they are panels upon entering the room telling you what is showing.

The entrance on ground level here (1 FL USA) you have the Breton paintings, and the history of the museum. A room in the museum is dedicated to Max Jacob, a poet and local hero ,from Quimper who died in 1944 after been taken to Nazi concentration camp as he was of Jewish beliefs. There are many works by Jacob himself (gouaches, pencils, engravings, etc.) and his entourage: notably by Jean Cocteau (drawings), Picasso (three etchings), Roger Toulouse and Amedeo Modigliani (drawing). Also, Jean Moulin, a senior official before becoming one of the emblematic figures of the French Resistance, exercised the function of sub-prefect at Chateaulin from 1930 to 1933. During his stay in Brittany, he met Max Jacob and, on his advice, illustrated the collection of poems by Tristan Corbière, “Armor”, extract from Amours Jaune (yellow loves). It is under the pseudonym of Romanin that the eight engravings are signed. At the heart of the museum, in a specially designed space, is exposed an exceptional set of paintings by Jean-Julien Lemordant , a Breton painter, which once decorated the dining room of the Hôtel de l’Epée in Quimper.

quimper musee beaux arts bataille de trente feb13

quimper musee beaux arts calvaire breton feb13

The first floor (2nd FL USA) you continue the sequence to the Flemish artists and Dutch from the end of the 16C to early 18C (Rubens, Jordaens etc); You visit Rodin and the sculptures, then the Italian paintings from end 14C to the 18C (Reni,Solimena,Bartolo di Fredi,etc); go on to the French paintings from end of 17C to the early 19C ( Mignard, Fragonard, Meynier, etc), you go thru a rooms of drawings 16-19C, then French Paintings from the 19C (Chasseriau, Corot, Boudin, etc), you visit the Pont Aven school and the Nabis (Bernard,Sérusier, Maufra, Gauguin, de Haan, Moret, Denis etc); then after pont aven (delaunay,Gruber, Gromaire, etc); Breton paintings of the 20C (Tal Coat,Bazaine, Manessier, Le Moal etc); the room of Lemordant recreating the mansion of the L’épée in Quimper created between 1906 and 1909 by Lemordant.

quimper musee beaux arts port of Brest feb13


In general, the graphic arts cabinet contains drawings from the main European schools of painting, the 2,000 drawings bequeathed by de Silguy also forming the bulk of the collection here. The fund is dominated by the French, and the Italian school and, to a lesser extent. Northern and Spanish schools are very little represented. The legacy of Count de Silguy included 12,000 engravings, which still constitute the core of the museum’s collection of engravings today.

quimper musee beaux arts cloister MSM feb13

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip here and it is worth the detour are

More official info on the Fine Arts museum in English here: Official Fine Arts Museum of Quimper

The city of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum in French: City of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum

The tourist office of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum in English: Tourist office of Quimper on the Fine Arts Museum

And there you go folks , a very nice worthwhile museum to visit right in the middle of all wonderful about Quimper, in the Finistére breton. Remember to visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper.

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

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