Recently I’ve been travelling to Strasbourg and could not miss the opportunity to visit local Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCS) that collected quite a big and interesting collection of modern art.
MAMCS’ collection is divided into three sections (Fine Arts, Graphic Arts and Photography) with an area of approximately 3,800 meters at its disposal -including 1,000 meters allotted to temporary exhibits.
Inaugurated in 1998, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art sits on the banks of the Ill, in the heart of Strasbourg’s historical neighborhood. A work by architect Adrien Fainsilber, it was designed around clarity and open spaces, privileging the museum’s various departments: an exhibition space, a permanent collection, Graphic Arts and photography rooms, educational services, a library, an auditorium and also offers a restaurant and a bookstore. The collection, enriched with work contributed by institutions and particulars, gives an overview of the period from 1870 to modern day and covers a geographical domain centered mainly around Western Europe.
It was Hans Haug, director of Strasbourg’s museums from 1919 to 1963 who initiated the composition of a modern collection very early on. A distinguishing feature of this commitment to modernity was the acquisition in 1923 of Braque’s still life, the first cubist work to become part of a public collection and in 1943, Claude Monet’s Oat and Poppy Field. The generosity of the Horn brothers, art lovers from Strasbourg, credited with the commissioning of the Aubette also allowed the collection’s expansion in the postwar years adding a significant number of works that composed the first nucleus of the collection (Klee, Archipenko, Arp, Kollwitz…). The museum received several important donations of Arp’s work at the same period, by himself and his legatees, making the artist the museum’s central figure.
From the Museum of Modern Art’s very debut as an autonomous entity in 1973, its acquisition policy chose to open the way for great movements in the European avant-garde, encouraging Strasbourg’s role therein. Consider the important collections of Arte Povera, Fluxus, and Neo-Expressionism. This latest direction has recently been pursued with the creation of an impressive ensemble of work by Penck, Lupertz and Immendorff. The contemporary is also represented in its most diverse aspects, ranging from large installations (Alain Séchas, Claude Lévêque) to painting (Daniel Richter, Marc Desgrandchamps, Jonathan Meese).
The Graphic Arts and Photography collection
Two collections were integrated into the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s collection at the time of its inauguration: the graphic arts gallery and the photography collection. Endowed with several thousand works, the former can be identified by three large series: the Gustave Doré collection, essentially acquired in 1992, an impressive collection of posters from the Belle Epoque added in the 1920’s-30s and a significant group of German artists ranging from Symbolism to Expressionism whose structure is closely tied to Strasbourg’s history.
As for the photography collection, it consists of a large number of prints donated by Charles Winter in the twenties, added to an already significant series of photographs from the interwar years essentially represented by the Jacqueline Rau collection donated in 1992. In addition, one finds a collection of contemporary photographers (Witkin, Mapplethorpe, Molinier) along with younger artists, compiled since the eighties.
Consigned work from prestigious collectors, particularly Jean Brolly, or public institutions such as the Orsay Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art, and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain adds to the collection on a regular basis.
Likewise, financing from the State, the city of Strasbourg and the FRAM (Regional Funds for Museum Acquisitions), along with private institutions, allow a regular enrichment of the museum’s collection. As an example, between 2000 and 2002 the MAMCS established a partnership with Baden Baden’s Stiftung Frieder Burda an institution providing funding for contemporary art work.
Museum is situated on 1, place Hans Jean Arp/ Tel. 03 88 23 31 31
See more pictures in the gallery: