While Grenoble is certainly well known as the capital of the Alps, the city has more to offer than its wonderful array of outdoor activities. Its inhabitants and visitors can take advantage of many cultural events that should not be underestimated.
The city is home to many museums (Musée d'Archéologie de Grenoble Saint-Laurent, Musée de l'Ancien Evêché, Musée Dauphinois, Musée Stendhal, Musée A.Raymond, Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation de l'Isère...), one of which, the Musée de Grenoble, stands out in particular as it is one of most beautiful museums in France.
The largest French collection of modern art after the Centre Pompidou in Paris
Created in 1798, the Musée de Grenoble presents more than 900 works of art in a beautiful architectural environment. The museum’s curators have worked over the years to create an ambitious and insightful collection that enables visitors to discover the history of western painting from the 13th century onwards. For each period, visitors can look upon great masterpieces, whether they be Flemish, Dutch, Italian or Spanish.
The museum’s collection of modern art is the second largest in France after the Centre Pompidou in Paris (the French National Modern Art Museum). It was also the first public collection of modern art thanks to the vision of its curator Andry-Farcy (1919-1949) who was supported by various artists. The generosity of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso were particularly important as they enabled the museum to be the first to present their works of art. All of the museum’s curators have continued to foster an avant-garde vision. This has led to the creation of a collection known well beyond the Alps thanks to works by artists such as Chagall, Giacometti, Klee, Magritte, Van Dongen, Picabia, Modigliani, Warhol and Staël.
Approximately two works of art loaned per week
Thanks to its diverse and interesting collection, the Musée de Grenoble is an actor in the world of art. Every week, two works of art are generally sent away on loan to be displayed in France or abroad. The museum’s 20th century collection is most appreciated. This international recognition is all the more valuable as the acquisition of these works of art caused quite a stir back in the day.
From March to June 2017, approximately 40 paintings were out on loan. For example, Flowers by Frédéric Bazille was sent to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, U.S. Enrico Prampolini’s Diver of the Clouds was sent to the Museum Sztuki w Lodzi in Lodz, Poland. Henry Matisse’s Little Mulatto was loaned to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin, Italy. The Musée de Grenoble regularly exchanges with institutions in Japan, China, Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland.
Temporary exhibitions draw visitors from around the world
The quality of a museum’s art and the renown of its artists is often a key factor behind loan requests. However, collaboration and networks are also important. As a result, the Musée de Grenoble is part of FRAME (FRench American Museum Exchange), which is an association that brings together thirty major museums in France and North America. The goal of FRAME is to promote cultural cooperation, in particular thanks to exchanges and partnerships between museums. The association’s members collaborate to develop innovative programs and experiences for their visitors. As part of this collaborative effort, the Musée de Grenoble was able to organize an exhibition on Georgia O’Keeffe that drew more than 42,000 visitors.
A partnership with the Centre Pompidou enabled the museum to display a Kandinsky exhibition on the Paris years (1933-1944). This was the first time since 1972 that a French exhibition had focused on the last ten years of the artist’s life. The exhibition was made possible thanks to exceptional loans by the Centre Pompidou and other major institutions. The exhibition attracted 115,366 visitors, which was a French record for a non-Parisien museum.
The Musée de Grenoble is continuing to grow its collections all the while ensuring its current works of art gain recognition worldwide. In 2018, the museum will publish a catalog of 19th century drawings that will be of interest to foreign experts. Such events provide the museum with the opportunity to promote itself well beyond French borders.