Telling the story of the arts patron Anne Gruner-Schlumberger, the current exhibition at the Fondation de l’Hermitage offers an enchanting look into her wonderful collection of artworks that she acquired for her Fondation des Treilles in Provence. Designed as a thought-provoking refuge for the arts, amongst olive trees and isolated hills, the foundation’s 300 hectares are idyllically set as a stage for Gruner-Schlumberger’s decades of collaborations and artistic exchanges.
Similarly personal, given its history as a private villa, the Fondation de l’Hermitage always makes for a carefully curated outing. The combination of intimate exhibition rooms upstairs and the sleek, modern underground space offer a complementary juxtaposition to the visitor experience.
For the current exhibition, whilst the names of the artists exhibited easily roll off the tongue in a who’s who list of 20th Century masters, including Braque, Giacometti, Klee, Picasso, and a flock of fourteen Lalanne sheep, the main focus is on Max Ernst, Victor Brauner, and Joseph Sima. The former two share the Hermitage villa, playfully gracing the walls and parquet floors with their surrealistic imaginings. Occasionally, they are exhibited alongside sculptural works of African art reinforcing the intertwined inspiration of shapes that clearly influenced some of their artistic language. Downstairs, Sima’s abstract landscapes offer a welcoming expanse of varied blue hues that refresh the mind, serving as an interlude to the final room which brings the Fondation des Treilles to the visitor through photographs and sculptural installations.
Altogether the exhibition is an engaging vignette into the collecting habits of a grand patron of the arts and upon learning that the Fondation des Treilles is not open to the public, which is thankfully the only disappointment, it makes a visit to the Fondation de l’Hermitage even more worthwhile and necessary.
TLG Tip: Combine a weekend visit to the museum with brunch at l’Esquisse