The National Museum Fernand Leger is in Biot in the Alpes-Maritimes and devoted to the work of the famous French artist of the twentieth century. The museum has the largest collection of his works . Basically a private museum, is today a national museum owning the Label Musée de France.
Shortly before his death in 1955 Fernand Léger had acquired a farmhouse property, Saint-André, near Biot with the intention of installing polychrome ceramic sculptures in his garden. After his death, his wife Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier, assistant and friend of Léger, decided to build a museum in the property, intended to present the work of the artist. Indeed, at his death Léger leaves many works in his studio in Gif-sur-Yvette. These are works abandoned by the artist in progress, the running work and masterpieces, from which Léger did not want to separate. Nadia Léger chose with Georges Bauquier in the workshop of Gif-sur-Yvette Léger's works that would be presented at the museum.
The latter, designed by architect Andrei Svetchine is inaugurated by Gaëtan Picon, General Director of Arts and Letters, 13 May 1960. It includes on its southern facade a large mosaic made from studies for a mosaic Léger had to realize for the stadium-velodrome in the city of Hanover.
At first, the museum is not a national museum but a private museum owned by Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier which presented their collection of works by Léger, which is the largest gathering of works of artist in the world. Paintings, drawings, ceramics, bronzes and tapestries are the permanent collections of the museum.
In 1967 the founders offer to the State the museum and 348 works. The new national museum was inaugurated February 4, 1969 by André Malraux, then Minister of Cultural Affairs. The museum's collections are enhanced by works directly from the private collection that still possessed Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier, who were also lifelong directors of Fernand Léger's museum. Nadia Léger died in 1982 and Bauquier retired from the museum management in 1993.
Since 1994 the museum's collection was enriched again thanks to several acquisitions of drawings and deposits in the national museum of modern art in Paris.
In 1990, the museum building was the subject of an expansion which doubles its surface and in 2008 new facilities were inaugurated to improve the visit and to better showcase the works presented. The museum also has a space for temporary exhibitions devoted to modern art.
In 2010, to celebrate 50 years of the museum and due to the Imago records initiative was organized the Popanalia Festival with Archie Shepp & Tom McClung, Trilok Gurtu & Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu, Gong, Rémy Kolpa Kopoul, Lao and Sashird the artist Patrick Moya.
The museum has the largest collection of Léger's works in the world. It consists of all kind of artist's achievements: paintings, drawings, ceramics, bronzes and tapestries. It covers different periods of his life and can track the various artist's creative phases of his first Neo-Impressionist and few attempts to develop its characteristic cubism through the return to the figure of 1940 . The museum offers an overview of his varied work. This collection, unique in its kind, includes many masterpieces that are among the most famous works of Léger, including painting, like July 14 (1914), Lunch (1920), The Great Tug (1923 ) Composition on the sheet (1927), Mona Lisa key (1930), Adam and Eve (1934), The Entertainment on red (1949) or The Builders (1950) and The Great Parade on red (1954) .
The museum offers to the visitors a rich program of exhibitions, cultural activities (educational workshops, screenings, conferences etc..) as well as audio-guides in 7 languages.
The bar of the garden, opens May to October and offers a nice place to relax after the visit.
316 chemin du Val de Pôme
Tél. : 04 92 91 50 30
Fax : 04 92 91 50 31
E-mail : email@example.com
Open every day, except on tuesday, on December 25th, January 1st and May 1st
Along the highway, issue Villeneuve-Loubet RN7, then towards Antibes, at 2km take direction Biot (follow the arrows )
[Read also our last week's article about Fernand Léger]