Thursday, September 6, 2012

Art Update for the Weekend and Beyond

So much art in Provence and so little time! Here are a few new and noteworthy shows...with a few vernissages (openings) that you can attend...and a few ongoing shows that you might have missed. Enjoy!


The 4th edition of Abbaye Art Contemporain (ABBYAC) will be this weekend, September 7th to 9th, 2012, in Villeneuve lez Avignon, across the Rhone River from Avignon. Twenty one artists will show their work (sculpture, photography, installations) in the lovely setting of the gardens of the Abbaye Saint-André. The show is open Friday  (10 am to 12:30 and 2 to 6 pm) and Saturday and Sunday (from 10 am to 6 pm, without interruption). Entry is 6€ for adults and free for kids. Guided visits are available by calling 04 90 25 45 35. Meanwhile the vernissage will be tomorrow (Friday September 7th) from 6 to 9 pm and entry is free. The Abbaye is located at the Fort Saint André and parking is on the Place du Marché or the Montée des Chartreaux. For more info, click here. Just FYI, there’s a very nice Saturday morning brocante market every week in Villeneuve, on the Place du Marché, from 6 am to 2 pm.


Five local painters--all friends--will be showing  their work at the Galerie de la Prévôté in Aix this month. Lynn Rousseau, originally from Minnesota, has been living and painting in Provence for 10 years. Her work is colorful and figurative, but often touches on the abstract. Jacques Letrosne is the director of the Atelier Libre (where adults and children can learn to paint) and creates large-scale paintings which often focus on the unity between man and nature. Pascal Louvet began painting in the early 1990s; his work is vibrant and joyous, much like the fauvists before him, and expresses the light and warmth of his adopted Provence. Aix-born Michel Arnaud, who began his career in watercolor but has since moved on to oils, often paints the seashore in the Var region. Bruno Charmasson, a Gap native, first opened his paint box after retiring from a journalism career. His cavasses offer a window into the intimate moments of people’s daily lives. These five artists often pack up for the day and head out to paint together, whether it be the countryside around Mont St. Victoire or along the coast and into the Var. The Galerie de la Prévôté is on the Place des Martyrs de la Résistance (Parking Pasteur), a few steps from the cathedral. The first vernissage (Rousseau, Charmasson, Arnaud) is Tuesday Sept 11 at 6:30 and that show runs September 10 to 16.  The second vernissage (Letrosne, Louvet) is Tuesday Sept 18 at 6:30 and that show follows, from September 17 to 23. For info, contact Lynn Rousseau at or 


The annual Recontres d'Arles, the fantastic international photo festival, started in early July and finishes up September 23 in Arles. So if you haven't made it over there, now's the time. This year more than 100 photographers were invited to present 60 different exhibits, lectures and performances....and many of the shows remain on view until September 23rd. For a list of the exhibits, click here and then click through the items on the sidebar on the left. Single entry tickets for the various exhibits range from  €3.50  to €11; a €27 day pass gives you one entry per exhibit. A pass for the month of September is €27. Tickets for all Recontres events are available at a number of locations in Arles and the main festival ticket office is at #34 rue du docteur Fanton. All ticket offices are open 10 am to 7 pm daily. Tickets can also be bought online here. For all the Rencontres info in English, including exhibition schedules, events, maps and ticketing, click here. You can also call +33 (0)4 90 96 76 06 or email: But wait, there's more! You can learn about the Rencontres app for iPhone here and follow the Rencontres on Twitter: @rencontresarles.


Every year, the Musée Réattu in Arles has a "fil rouge''--a concept or theme around which its various exhibits are based. This year the theme is drama, theater and illusion and the umbrella title is "Act V."  Within that theme, there are different ''Scenes.'' And right now, they're on Scenes 2 and 3, which are tributes to Picasso and the designer Christian Lacroix. What's the connection? The Arles-born Lacroix saw his first Picasso exhibit in the mid 1950s. And ''whether they say it discreetly or at the top of their voices, his costumes articulate his own modest tribute to the icons of Picasso's world,'' the museum explains. ''His 'Ménine' costume, for example, made from a patchwork of embroidered jeans and reworked in 17th century style, seems to nod at Picasso's Musketeers.'' 

Picasso, meanwhile has a strong bond with both the Musée Réattu and the city of Arles. ''It was a thread that ran throughout his life,'' the museum says,  ''from his very first visit to the city with Georges Braque. Emerging from that stay were his drawings of Arlésiennes of 1912, a theme that recurs in 1937 with the features of Lee Miller, and again, in 1958, a year after the memorable exhibition at the Réattu--this time with the face of Jacqueline.''

So what you'll see here is a series of Lacroix' famous theater, dance, opera and bullfight costumes, along with
57 drawings that Picasso bequeathed to the museum in 1971. Plus, there are two major Picasso paintings, several engravings, photos of the artist by famous photographers such as Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis...and more. My friends who've seen this show really loved it and it sounds like one not to miss. Scenes 2 and 3 are on view until December 30. The Musee Reattu is at # 10, rue du Grand Prieuré. For info, click here or call 04 90 49 81 05.

Five times a year, St. Remy stages La Route des Artistes, an open-air art fair that takes over the main traffic circle and some of the Centre Ville streets inside it. The last two fairs are Sunday September 9th and Sunday October 7th. You'll see roughly 100 artists showing  paintings, photos, sculpture, ceramics and more, much of it quite reasonably priced.  For more info, click here or call 04 90 92 05 22.


The exhibit ''Kinetic Art and Op Art'' runs until November 4 at the Fondation Villa Datris, a venue dedicated to contemporary sculpture. Featuring 50 French and international artists, this show explores different facets of these two major 20th-century artistic movements. Eighty-five works brimming with light and movement (by Philippe Hiquily, Chul Hyun Ahn, Alexander Calder, Zimoun and many others) bring the three stories of Villa Datris and its gardens to life, illustrating the themes of movement and light. Admission is free. Fall hours are Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11 to 1 and 2 to 6. Open holidays. Villa Datris, #7, ave. des 4 Otages, Isle sur la Sorgue, 04 90 95 23 70,,

Photos: Click on any of them to enlarge. From the top: (1, 2, 3, 4) A dreamy photo by Johann Fournier, whimsical figures sculpted by Catriona Manoury, and two beautifully intricate pieces by Pierre Barbion made from--wait for it!--cow bones. All are on view this weekend at ABBYAC in Villeneuve lez Avignon. (5, 6, 7) Paintings by Lynn Rousseau, Pascal Louvet and Jacques Letrosne, who are having a group show at the Galerie de la Prévôté in Aix. (8, 9, 10) The poster for this year's Rencontres, plus two images pulled from ongoing exhibits: Olivier Metzger's 2012 ''Untitled'' from the series ''Smile Forever,'' and Marina Gadonneix's  ''Plane #2'' from the series ''Playground Disorder.'' (11, 12) Posters for Lacroix and Picasso in Arles and the Route des Artistes, St. Remy. (13, 14, 15) Indoors and out at the Kinetic Art and Op Art show at Villa Datris: One of the light-and-movement filled salons; garden sculptures by Jaildo Marinho and Mark Di Suvero.


  1. Like people, art is so individual and unique, and at its core something beautiful.

  2. Julie, thank you so much for the tips in this post! I'm away from Provence right now, but my family is still there and I heard they had a magnificent time yesterday and today in Villeneuve lez Avignon. They loved it.

  3. Nice color choice on the blog. It is really easy on my eyes and I have bad eyes too so that's a really big compliment lol



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