Top 12 SOULAGES MUSEUM
AN EXCEPTIONAL MUSEUM !
At the heart of Aveyron is the Soulages Museum,
a modern space displaying the works of the artist Pierre Soulages.
THE SOULAGES MUSEUM, AN EXCEPTIONAL MUSEUM
It was in his birthplace, Rodez, in Aveyron, that a museum dedicated to the works of Pierre Soulages was founded.
A UNIQUE PIECE OF ARCHITECTURE MADE OF CORTEN STEEL
Harmony. That is the word which comes to mind when you arrive at the museum. The dark Corten steel is balanced out by the green backdrop of the park. The angle of the refined parallelepipeds, alternating between light and shade, allow you to look in the direction of Aubrac. You feel a sense of completeness in this flat space where teenagers, locals out for a walk and awe-struck visitors come together.
It is a remarkable architectural achievement, as you will surely agree, and the panel of the Prix Pritzker was not mistaken when in 2017 it gave an award to the talented architects behind the Soulages Museum, the Catalan firm RCR Arquitectes together with the Narbonn-based firm Passelac & Roques.
The Soulages Museum, inaugurated in 2014, is now one of the gems of Rodez. The other gem is the cathedral , which you can get to from the museum by following the town’s ‘Ramblas’. This large pavement, bordered by greenery, has become the locals’ main walkway, taking them from the town centre to the Place des Rutènes. It leads to the Esplanade, the museum of course, the cinema, and the festival hall; it is a cultural bridge linking the historic centre with the new district of Bourran.
THREE PLACES IN ONE
First of all, the permanent exhibition galleries: high, bright rooms alternating with dark, low ones, which bring together all of Soulages works and the various techniques he has used in the course of his career. Works from his youth, paintings on paper and oil paintings on canvas, prints (etchings, lithography, screen prints), walnut stains, cartoons of the stained-glass windows at Conques, his Outrenoir of 1986... the gift Colette and Pierre Soulages have made to the town of Rodez is priceless ! This journey through the different eras in Pierre Soulages’ artistic production will certainly appeal to your aesthetic sense!
Next is the temporary exhibition gallery, because, as was Pierre Soulages’ wish, this museum is not dedicated to him alone... There you will discover contemporary artists with their own temporary exhibitions. Exhibitions displaying around a hundred works by Picasso, Soto, Calder and Yves Klein have already enjoyed great success.
Finally, nourishment for the mind should be followed by nourishment of the body... do not forget to stop by at the Café Bras. Situated in an extension to the exhibition galleries, this gourmet establishment offers a counter area on one side for having a quick bite, or to give the children a snack after they have been so good during your visit; and a restaurant area, with a modern kitchen inspired by produce from Rodez market.
We advise booking the restaurant in advance!
Make sure to see the 104 stained-glass windows in Conques Abbey-Church (Pierre Soulages dedicated 7 years of research and work to this project!), and the wonderful film about their production, before going to admire them in the flesh at the Abbey Church of Saint Foy in Conques.
Remember to book a guided tour to learn more about Soulages’ works; alternatively you can use the downloadable app on your smartphone.
And don’t forget, entry is free for under 18s and students, and the Museum Pass gives you access to all three museums in Rodez for €9.
The artist from Aveyron, who needs no introduction, has made contemporary art accessible for everyone. His unique donation allowed the Soulages Museum to be built at the heart of his home town of Rodez, which he brought to prominence in the international cultural scene!
Today, Pierre Soulages’ works are exhibited in over 110 museums throughout the world, and he is also his French peers’ favourite painter. It is also worth knowing that his final work ‘de l’ombre’, which allowed light to spring up out of darkness, was sold at auction for 6.1 million euros!