We found this museum of contemporary and modern Provencal art to be a wonderful place, with a great setting and some excellent works, including paintings, sculpture and a few other items.
The Albert-André Museum of Bagnols-sur-Cèze is the first Cantonal Museum — dedicated to "to bring culture to the working population", according to a description sent to the Sorbonne in 1877. In general, Musées Cantonaux can have sections dedicated to Art, Agriculture and Industry, Science and History.
Bagnols-sur-Cèze's Albert-André Museum has artwork, done by Provencal artists or depicting Provencal subjects.
Warm Welcome to the Museum
We wandered in off the street (actually off the Place Mallet) and started up the magnificent stone staircase. On the first floor up, as we were looking around deciding where to go, the adjutant mayor happened by and invited us in to admire the adjacent room where a wedding ceremony was scheduled to take place. The large, retro-style room was nice enough, and if you come by, be sure to stop in and check out the photos and info panels about the 1939-45 war at Bagnols-sur-Cèze.
The Scent of an Artist
Up a second flight of stairs and into the museum, we were confronted by the scent of oil paints and the sight of artists at work painting works of art. Being confronted in an art museum with the odor of oil paints and modeling clay, and the scene of painters and easels is a sublime experience. Although part of the experience was the surprise, we'll try to make it back there next year for the same event.
The museum is opened to area "copistes" once a year for three days, usually the first or second week of June. (The copistes sign up ahead of time, and about 20 are selected for the event. Organizer: Cordelia Delaitre, Conservation des Musées, 04 66 90 75 80.) The museum is open for business-as-usual during this time.
The "copistes" artists are selected each year based partly on what works they want to work with, so they will be spread out through the different rooms of the museum and not all clustered in the same spot.
Oil painters seemed to be in the majority, but there were a few sculptors at work. Here, an artist has just added a hat to here rendition of a bust of August Renoir (the original by Paul Paulin, 1902).
Firemen Create Fire
During the 1923 Fête de Sainte Barbe (the patron saint of pyrotechniciens and firemen, among others), the firemen of Bagnols-sur-Cèze managed to set the Hotel de Ville on fire.
Part of the Léon Alègre collection was destroyed, to the point where Albert André complained to his friends that he was the curator of a museum of empty walls. Friends, artists, galeristes, critics and collectors chipped in, creating a Museum of Friendship (musée de l'amitié).
The post-impressionist offerings included works by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Albert Marquet, Claude Monet, Jean Puy and Paul Signac.
Albert-André Museum Artists
The Albert-André Museum in Bagnols-sur-Cèze presents works by these artists (and others):
Johan Barthold Jongkind
Kees van Dongen
- Contemporary and modern art, specializing in Provencal art.
- Location: Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville), Place Mallet, 2nd floor
- Open: Tue - Sun, 10h-12h, 14h-18h
- Closed: Monday, some holidays
- Entry: Free
- Tel: 0466 505 056