Strasbourg is home to the largest museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Eastern France.
The museum highlights emblematic works of the period from 1870 to today. Nearly 5,000 square meters are dedicated to the works of great artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso or even the Strasbourg artists, Gustave Doré and Hans-Jean Arp.
Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is one of the unmissable things you should in Strasbourg! Let's visit it together.
When impressionist art meets art of photography
The visit of the museum starts with famous works that marked the impressionist movement. You will appreciate these small paintings where the inspired painters have delicately slipped brush strokes. Then, you will see the evolution of the movement in the works with the invention of photography. Artists got interested in it and used it in their compositions to enhance optical and aesthetic perception by using fascinating colors.
In the first room, several works of art by Claude Monet are displayed, including the famous oil on canvas Champ d’avoine aux coquelicots, vers 1890.
Alsatian art at the center of the museum
The particularity of Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is the highlights of Alsatian art through the works of artists defending the decorative arts. In 2020, the museum inherited the works of the Alsatian François-Rupert Carabin, the former director of the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. The artist's heirs have donated more than 700 artistic works from his studio: sculptures, medals and plates as well as his drawings.
He devoted himself to sculpture at a very young age and soon became an important sculptor in the artistic life of Paris and Europe. You will admire several of his atypical creations throughout the visit in 3 different rooms.
Avant-garde in contemporary art
Between 1908 and 1914, artists explored new methods or artistic techniques to create a unique work of art. It was a real upheaval that led to the fusion of several artistic movements: expressionism, cubism and futurism.
Among these artists, there is Marcelle Cahn from Strasbourg. She is one of the greatest representatives of this movement and of feminine abstraction. Her works are done with a lot of geometric rigor while adding a touch of sensitivity.
I particularly liked Guitare et éventail, around 1926. The artist superimposed several geometric forms in order to highlight the guitar in the center of her work.
Cubism: an artistic revolution
Cubism movement really imposed itself at the beginning of the 20th century with the idea of breaking with traditional and moralistic thoughts about the body. Despite several claims on this complex subject, some artists handle this theme with care. Pablo Picasso made several paintings defending this movement that can be found in the museum: Buste de Femme, 1926 and Personnage cueillant des fleurs, 1958.
The Gustave Doré collection
The large room devoted to the works of Gustave Doré takes you on a journey to another universe. The talent of this illustrator, painter and draughtsman from Strasbourg is presented in 452 works through the collections of the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Among his most beautiful works, we find Le Rhin Allemand, 1870. The French army is represented in the foreground crossing the Rhine greeted by the soldiers of the revolution in the background. This painting has been created with delicacy and meticulousness. I am still impressed by the work of the artist who managed to reproduce the scene using specific artistic techniques.
The must-see passage: the crashed car
Located at the very back, Giulietta is hard to miss. A sports car is indeed hidden inside the museum. It's not just any car. Bertrand Lavier wanted to save this blood-red Alfa Romeo despite the accident it had suffered. Behind this Italian car, the artist wishes to denounce our follies, our fears (the accident, death) and the violence of society. It is also a memory in reference to the tragic scene of the film Le Mépris by Jean-Luc Godard.
The permanent collection of contemporary art
On the first floor, four large rooms are dedicated to permanent works of contemporary art. It is in the middle of the 20th century that the contemporary art works were created regardless the style or the artistic movement defended.
While browsing the various contemporary works, I stopped on one work in particular: Almost Alone, Truth and Lies made by the Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller of the Brooklyn-based FAILE collective in 2016. It's a street art work that combines different elements (scenes, text, image) in differently colored rectangular supports. These artists like to add symbols to their art.
How to get to Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art ?
Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is very well located! It's only 500 meters away from the train station. It's less than 20 minutes walk from the city center. And there's "Musée d'Art Moderne" tramway station (line B).
You can also have a ride to the museum. By renting a bike in Strasbourg, it'll take you less than 10 minutes!