SOULAGES MUSEUM: a museum unlike any other – Rodez (Aveyron)

Opens 31 May 2014


Pierre Soulages: top-selling artist at auctions

Pierre Soulages, a painter of international renown, was born in Rodez in the Aveyron region.

His work is shown in nearly ninety museums around the world. His retrospective in 2009 in Paris, at at the national modern art museum – Georges Pompidou Centre -, drew close to 500,000 visitors (a record number, following that of the Dali exhibition).

He is the French artist that reaches the highest prices on the international contemporary art market. His latest canvas was sold for over € 5 million.

Pierre SOULAGES in his studio

An extraordinary donation

The Soulages Museum houses a unique donation, consisting of some 500 pieces estimated at nearly € 40 million. The Soulages Museum’s collection is representative of Soulages’s earliest paintings, which are the most sought after.

The permanent collection consists of paintings on canvas, paintings on paper including the famous walnut-stain works, all of his prints (etchings, lithographies, silk-screen prints), sculptures, preparatory cartoons for stained-glass windows in Conques, films, photographs, rare books, and so on.

The permanent exhibition rooms cover nearly 2,000 m2. A 500 m2 room will accommodate modern and contemporary art events. The first temporary exhibition is devoted to Pierre Soulages’s Outrenoir, which has known worldwide success: how to transcend light within black through the use of materials

Soulages Museum - A museum in Corten steel

Unique architecture in Corten steel

The Soulages Museum is a decidedly contemporary building, designed by the Catalonian firm RCR arquitectes Passelac and Roques Narbonne, associated architects.

The Catalonian architects were appointed as honorary members of the “Royal lnstitute of British Architects” (RIBA) in 2012, and were chosen from among ninety-eight candidates in 2008.

Its distinctive feature is that it is entirely wrapped in Corten steel on the outside, a material that procures shades from rust-red to brown; inside the building, dark, native steel adorns walls and floors.

Le musée est intégré au coeur d’un jardin arboré d’essences variées, de 3 hectares qui permet aux visiteurs de profiter d’une aire de jeux pour les enfants et d’un cheminement dessiné par l’architecte Emmanuel Nebout.

Soulages Museum - A place for living

A place for living

The Soulages Museum is a real place for living, offering visitors a restaurant area, “Café Bras”, an extensive reference library (rare works and books, documents on the artist, his entourage and his time, catalogues and films), rooms for children where they can make their own artworks and learn more, an eighty-seat auditorium, a hypermedia fresco from the French National Audiovisual Institute, a shop, multimedia visitors’ tools, etc.

Sébastien BRAS

Café Bras

The museum has an exceptional eating area designed by Michel Bras, celebrity chef and culinary artist from the Aubrac region which served as inspiration for painter Pierre Soulages.

Relying on their Aveyron culture, the Bras family keeps Cafe Bras running throughout the day, with an emphasis on those special moments: breakfast, mid-morning snack, aperitif, lunch, and teatime.

The Bras signature cuisine has a decidedly contemporary feel, with a focus on environmental topics. While the Aveyron is its main source of inspiration, spices hint at faraway places, as universal as the work of Pierre Soulages.

Photo credits : Photothèque de la communauté d'agglomération du Grand Rodez, Cédric Méravilles, RCR arquitectes - Passelac & Roques Architectes (Narbonne) architectes associés, Gaston Bergeret (2009), Fritz Pitz (1968), Michel et Sébastien Bras.