Monday, 1 May 2017

Musée Soulages

My pilgrimage to see the works of 'France's greatest living painter' has finally happened. The journey was an adventure punctuated with good French food and stimulating conversation with my friend Brigitte who accompanied me - and thankfully is a human sat-nav and can speak some French - both abilities of which I lack.

Exterior by RCR  Arquitectes

Soulage has donated much of his early work to his birthplace Rodez, which is now housed in this purpose built gallery. The building itself is gorgeous and certainly helps give the work a contemporary feel.  Catalan architects RCR Arquitectes designed the building which at times seems to upstage the paintings, so gorgeous is the corten steel and concrete.

window seats at musée soulages
looking through to the outrenoir suspended pictures

Cathedral-like heights

The paintings and prints are elegant in their simplicity and size. I particularly liked the prints which I hadn't seen any of before, and the Outrenoir series which were my first loves - Montpelier has loads of these, if you're in the area and can visit both destinations.


There is a third destination that I haven't managed to get to, Conques, where Soulages designed windows for the cathedral. There is a whole room here dedicated to the 1980s making of the Conques glass. The windows look barred or boarded up on the pictures when in fact they are carefully chosen tempered glass that allow in a particular quality of light. After all Soulages says his work is all about light.  

Conquer window (image from Conque tourist website)

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