Musée Fabre

Musée Fabre information

Location
Montpellier , France
Address
39 bd de Bonne Nouvelle
More information
www.museefabre.fr
Prices
adult/child €6/4, with Département des Arts Décoratifs €7/5, 1st Sun of month free
Opening hours
10am-6pm Tue-Sun
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Founded in 1825 by painter François-Xavier Fabre, this exceptional museum houses one of France’s richest collections of European art. The galleries are split into three main sections: Old Masters, Modern Movements and Decorative Arts, collectively representing the last 600 years of artistic activity in Europe. Most of the big names are represented, and the renovation has transformed the museum into a light, airy and engaging space.

Highlights of the Old Masters include three paintings by Rubens, a dreamy Venus and Adonis by Nicholas Poussin, and a collection of works by Jacques-Louis David. The Romantic section is strong on French artists – particularly Delacroix, Géricault and Courbet – while Manet, Degas and Delaunay are among the standouts of the modern section.

Of particular local interest are the works of Marseille-born artist Fréderic Bazille (1841–70), a close contemporary of Monet, Sisley and Manet. The artist has a whole room devoted to him: look out for his portrait of Renoir, seated on a chair with legs tucked up beneath him, and a moody portrait of the artist himself by a very young Monet. Tragically, Bazille’s potential was never fulfilled: he died aged just 28 in a battle during the Franco-Prussian War.

Attached to the museum is L’Hôtel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran , a lavish Montpellier mansion that belonged to local notable Madame Frédéric Sabatier d’Espeyran. The interior of the house is filled with incredible ceramics, furniture and objets d’art – an evocative reminder of the fabulous wealth enjoyed by Montpellier’s elite during the late 19th century.