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Montpellier is a modest provincial town in the south of France. After all, this town is directly related to many things that are associated with this fine art - painting.
Inspecting numerous sights, the smell of old oil paint and the anticipation of meeting with the beautiful will certainly lead your feet to Fabre Museum, which is famous not only for its unique collection of paintings, but also for its own fascinating history.
Probably worth starting with the famous French artist Francois Xavier Fabrewhose having and wears a museum. Fabre was born here in Montpellier in 1766. He studied painting at one of the unsurpassed masters of classicism - Jacques Louis David. His work was recognized at a prestigious competition in Rome in 1787, after which he did not return home for a long time. But the Great French Bourgeois Revolution only contributed to this. So he lived and worked in Italy for a long time. Fabre was a member of an aristocratic courtly society. He maintained close friendships with Countess Albany and Count Vittorio Alfieri. And after the death of the count in 1803, Fabre safely took his place near the countess. It so happened that the painter survived the countess herself, inheriting, among other things, the property of the count couple and a unique collection of paintings.
In the courtyard of 1826. Napoleon Bonaparte is no longer alive. Fabre is finally returning to his small homeland in Montpellier. With a broad gesture, the painter gives his hometown a collection of paintings and a rich library with one condition that the collection will be the beginning of the creation of the museum, in the building of which Fabre himself will live and meet old age. So he became the first director of the current Fabre Museum.
The museum was decided to place in a beautiful mansion built in 1775. The building itself is located on the site of a former hotel, in the eastern part of the historical center of Montpellier. In due time, namely in 1622-1673, Moliere even toured here with his troupe.
By the way, today the museum has a branch located in the neighboring building (former hotel), which contains jewelry from the Second Empire, antique furniture and works of decorative art. And also some expositions are located at the Jesuit College.
The opening of the museum took place in 1828. Initially, his exposition consisted of a collection of neoclassical painting (a gift from Fabre), but the museum grew relatively quickly. Fabre gradually increased the wealth of the museum, acquiring paintings by the Flemish and Dutch painters.
In 1868, the patron became the director of the Fabre Museum Alfred Bruyah. He stayed with them until 1876. During this time, he transferred to the museum funds canvases Delacroix, Cabanel, Courbet. Hypochondrik Bruyia had a special predilection - his own portraits, of which 34 have accumulated over his life, 4 of which belong to the brush of his friend Courbet. In addition to these portraits, the Fabre Museum also has a number of Courbet paintings. In total, there are 15 of them - they make up the pride of the museum, since this is the largest collection of Courbet paintings under one roof in all of France. Among them are such as the “Man with the pipe”, which is considered to be one of Courbet’s best self-portraits; “Sleeping Spin” - deducted from one of the painter's sisters; “Sea beach in Palavas” - the artist himself is depicted on the canvas, hiding greetings to the Mediterranean Sea.
Another property of the museum is the work of one of the founders of impressionism Frederic Basilwhose work was donated to the museum by his family. Around the same time, several more paintings by Alexander Kabanel appeared in the museum, also received as a gift. Incidentally, both Basil and Cabanel are natives of the same Montpellier.
In 2003, the museum was closed for restoration work, which lasted about five years. This event cost about 63 million euros, but it was worth it. The exhibition space has expanded to 10 thousand m2, a thousand of which are currently hosting temporary exhibitions. After the restoration, the main entrance also moved - now it is located in the Jesuit College.