New Museums to Open in France

France is seeing several new museum openings this year; one opened just last month and several more are due to debut throughout 2011.

The town of Essoyes in Champagne has just opened a new museum dedicated to Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s work called “Renoir in Essoyes.” The museum primarily focuses on Renoir’s daily life and artistic style during the time he lived in Essoyes with his family, rendered by a reconstruction of the painter's studio and exhibitions showcasing his family. Visitors can explore the area that once inspired Renoir's works by walking through his former village and garden, where a selection of his canvases will be propped on easels. The permanent exhibition room, “The Renoirs’ Space,” covers the entire Renoir family's life. By June of this year, a temporary exhibition will feature contemporary perspectives on the celebrated artist’s works, showcasing modern interpretations inspired by his paintings.

The Bonnard Museum, the first space to be exclusively devoted to painter Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), is set to open its doors this June in Le Cannet in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur. As Giverny was to Monet, Le Cannet was to Bonnard, as he spent the latter 25 years of his life in the Côte d’Azur, and employed his surroundings as inspiration for his paintings.

The Lalique Museum, the first museum solely dedicated to René Lalique’s glass and crystal work, will open in the town of Wingen-sur-Moder in Alsace this spring. Situated in the 18th-century glassmaking site where Lalique first started his now celebrated work, the new museum will trace the history of glassmaking, as well as display nearly 600 pieces from Lalique.

Menton is opening a new Jean Cocteau Museum in November of 2011. While Cocteau lived in the Riviera during the 1950s, he made his mark on Menton by creating a number of artworks commissioned by the city. This new museum, situated in Menton's Old Town, will be dedicated to Cocteau's works from 1910 to 1950. The collection consists of a total of 1,525 works, which will be displayed on rotation through both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Also featured in the museum will be an educational workshop space, a bookstore, and cultural center with a café and lecture room.

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