Madam Deputy Mayor, dear Michèle Tabarot,Ladies and Gentlemen elected,Madam Director in charge of Museums of France,Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear friends,
Some of the greatest artists of our time have come to work
on the French Riviera, whether it be Fernand Léger, Picasso, or
Matisse.... At the turn of the 20th century, this «great workshop of the Midi», according to
André Chastel, constituted a real laboratory for painters
concerned to confront an intense light and give priority to the
At the invitation of Paul Signac and Henri Manguin, Pierre Bonnard discovered
Saint-Tropez in 1904, then stayed there in 1909. Saint-Tropez where you
he wrote to Paul Signac in 1933,
remembering their sailboat rides or on his boat which he had
dyes the sails yellow. Saint-Tropez, where he was struck, as he wrote to
his mother, with a stroke of the Thousand and One Nights: the sea, the yellow walls, the
reflections as colorful as light». From that time the painter surrendered
regularly in the South, before buying in 1926 a small house on
the heights of the Canet where he first came intermittently, to withdraw there
in 1939, until his death.
The presence of Bonnard at the Cannet, with the admirable paintings he has
left from this stay, fully justified this museum that we have the joy
with this exhibition Bonnard and Le Cannet. In the light
A year ago, before visiting the site of the future museum, I had first
at the villa Le Bosquet, I didn’t hide my surprise and my
that she was thus preserved by her family. It is there, in
this pink villa nestled under the flowers and orange trees overlooking the bay
of Cannes and the Esterel massif, which Bonnard painted his paintings the
more inspired, those that specialists consider as a summit
in the art of the first half of the 20th century. These landscapes, subjects of
exploration of the unprecedented color, have acted on it just like the
Sainte Victoire on Cézanne or Giverny on Monet. Thanks to efforts
deployed by the family of Pierre Bonnard, Le Bosquet remains a place
preserved and silent that keeps all the soul and dream part of this
Not far from there, in the heart of the city, today the first museum
entirely dedicated to the artist is born. It is very exciting to see
this project that you carry, Madame Deputy Mayor, since
1983, with strength, boldness and conviction.
This museum has benefited from a valuable dynamic based on
meetings and friendships. First of course, the links you have
knotted, dear Michèle TABAROT, with the artist’s family. But I want to
also recall the decisive support of three unfortunate personalities who
played a decisive role in the construction of this structure: Françoise
CACHIN, Honorary Director of Museums of France, Michel TERRASSE,
great-grandnephew of the painter and Philippe MEYER, president of the
Meyer Foundation for Cultural and Artistic Development.
Philippe MEYER, great admirer and collector of works of Bonnard,
deeply regretted that no museum was dedicated to him. At the instigation of
Françoise CACHIN, long-time friend, the creation of this museum became
a privileged objective of the Meyer Foundation. Vincent MEYER continues with
a lot of passion for this work.
The museum opens today, near the villa Le Bosquet, thanks to the
rehabilitation of the Saint-Vianney hotel, saved from demolition by
architect of the Buildings of France, and acquired by the city in 1998. All the
challenge of this project was to preserve the spirit of the building, one of the last
witnesses of the Belle Epoque architecture, while granting it an extension
in the height of the terrain, it has made it possible to
create an important reception area, a teaching room and a
shop and a large terrace.
The construction of a glass column, containing a stairwell and a
lift lifts from the existing building by a bridge, allows access
persons with disabilities, while offering a breathtaking view of the
The forecourt of the museum, the place of reception of the public, opens widely on the
boulevard Carnot; the gardens of the Hotel Saint-Vianney, which will soon be
directly connected to those of the City Hall, were refurbished by
Jérôme MAZAS of Atelier Horizons and planted with these species
Mediterranean, almond, mimosas, grenadiers, que Bonnard
loved so much.
I would like to commend the architectural quality of this project entrusted to the
cabinet FERRERO and ROSSI. I would also like to greet the beautiful
scenography designed by Birgit FRYLAND from the agency SCENO.
We owe the success of this operation to the will and
the financial commitment of the City of Cannet and the support of Council
general of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-
The city of Le Cannet, local authorities, the whole family
TERRASSE and Pierre and Marie-Françoise Vernon, collectors and
the amateurs have united so that this beautiful project will see the day - because this
museum is also a collection of purchases, donations and deposits
private and public. Allow me to recall the essential contribution to
its enrichment of Marina FERRETTI-BOCQUILLON, adviser
which from 2003 to 2009 put in place a remarkable strategy
acquisitions and prefiguration exposures.
The museum has acquired major works such as Night Landscape or
Paysage du Midi and, with the support of the State, in 2008, Bathers at the end
of the day or in 2010, Nude profile, the screen The walk of
a self-portrait and two watercolours thanks to the help of the Fonds du
Heritage. In addition to these purchases, there are donations that are a good proof of
trust of the painter’s family and generous patrons, such as the
Meyer Foundation, Françoise CACHIN and Annisabelle BERES.
I particularly welcome the scientific collaboration that is
between the Musée d'Orsay and the town of Le Cannet. Indeed, the
d'Orsay has put on deposit at the Bonnard Museum, real masterpieces
as Sunset Landscape of 1923 and Canet Landscape of 1927,
two magnificent donations to the State of the Meyer Foundation and La
Dining room at the Cannet, entered in 2009 in the collections through
of a date.
The Musée d'Orsay, which supports the temporary exhibitions policy of the
Bonnard Museum, also contributed to the
essential to the inaugural exhibition with prestigious loans like The
boxer or L'Amandier in bloom, a particularly endearing painting
because this is the last painting of Bonnard. This almond tree bloomed in
his garden, almost under the window of his bedroom. This work, put
as was often the case, the painter took it back in 1947 and
a few days before his death he had asked his nephew, Charles
Terrace, put a yellow spot on his almond tree. Charles
Terrasse will write a beautiful sentence about this work: in this
springing of white that rises in the sky like a hymn, one can
see the supreme witness of gratitude and love offered by Bonnard to the
The Musée d'Orsay is also considering long-term loans that
will reinforce the collections, as for example in the fall, the loan
two decorative landscapes painted by Bonnard to decorate the room
of Thadée Natanson.
I know that you work actively, dear Michèle TABAROT, with
Guy COGEVAL, President of the Orsay Museums Public Establishment and
of the Orangerie, so that this partnership will soon be formalized
by an agreement between the institution and the City.
This bold project called for a strong commitment to which the State was very
In 2006, the Ministry of Culture and
Communication has recognized the interest, by assigning the name «museum
from France» at the Bonnard museum on the basis of the scientific and cultural project
defined by Marie GRASSE, Chief Curator of the City of
The State has willingly committed itself from the outset to this programme in
providing financial support but also the competence of its
services: those of the Heritage Branch and all
especially the Museum Service of France, but also those of the
Regional Directorate for Cultural Affairs which were very present and
monitoring of this operation in these
development phases and accompanied it with their technical expertise while
throughout its realization.
Dear Michèle TABAROT, I want to salute the action of the municipality of
Canet who carried this project with constancy and determination. You are
very involved - and this for many years - in politics
of our country. You preside over the
Committee on Cultural Affairs and Education
national. But it is your local commitment that I want to make
today’s tribute, a commitment that translates into action
In particular, the Commission is particularly keen to promote cultural development.
This was the cultural, identity and economic stakes of this museum.
As an extension, you wanted to build different circuits
pedestrians making discover «in the footsteps of Bonnard» the landscapes
that they cherished, landscapes that you knew how to preserve
increasing urbanization. The discovery trail of the Siagne canal
is thus bearer of a deep emotion, every morning Bonnard loved in
effect of walking there.
For this magnificent project, you received a 2010 Marianne d'Or, which
is a very nice recognition of the actions carried out by the city of
Canet around Pierre Bonnard.
I also know that the educational component is one of your concerns and
how much you support the museum’s mediation program in
schools. To have reserved two days ago to three hundred
fifty students of the Cannet the first of the opening of this establishment
is a very strong sign of this important background work.
This remarkable educational and cultural partnership for young people from
the municipality is also the result of the commitment of Vincent MEYER and
Véronique SERRANO, Director of the Bonnard Museum, to whom I address
Congratulations on the quality and scope of the work.
Dear Véronique SERRANO, you have chosen to leave the Cantini Museum
of Marseille to join you in this formidable challenge: to offer Pierre
Bonnard the first museum dedicated to his work. Your fame
professional, your requirement, your knowledge of the painter have been
additional assets in this great adventure. I know you have
spared your efforts to complete the last phase of this great
project with your entire team.
The brilliant set of major works exceptionally brought together around
exhibition Bonnard and Le Cannet. In the light of the
Mediterranean marks with brilliance the opening of the Bonnard museum. Recognized
of national interest by the Ministry of Culture and
received exceptional financial support from the State.
I warmly thank the French and international institutions
and the private collections that have made it possible to admire, here together, masterpieces
as essential as L'Atelier au mimosa, La Terrasse
sunny, Nude in the bathtub, L'Amandier in bloom or the famous
Self-portrait as a boxer, with a combative posture and a tense face, fists
closed in front of the mirror, facing the assaults of age, facing his art, in a
vibrant atmosphere of light.
His self-portraits are the painter’s «shadow share», especially those of
the last decade. Paradoxically, in the context particularly
dark war, there has never been so much yellow and glare
colorful in his painting. The landscapes of the Canet and the light of the Midi
have remained inexhaustible sources of inspiration for him.
In 1940, he wrote to Vuillard:" I am very interested in the landscape and my
walks are full of reflections on this. I begin to
understand this country and no longer try to find what is not there and then
it contains great beauties. From there to establish the different designs
that nature gave birth to, that’s what amuses me."
If the work of Bonnard was very early a growing success well beyond
our borders, so many events have been dedicated to it
in the world, it is here, without doubt, that he would have liked us to make
tribute to his painting here, where he led a life withdrawn, refusing
honors, working away from the revolutionary research of cubism
The opening of this new museum in France fully contributes to the
recognition of the unclassifiable work of this epicurean master of
chromatism. Responding to the article by Christian Zervos in the Cahiers
Matisse wrote, Yes! I certify that Pierre Bonnard is a great
painter for today, and surely for the future." This beautiful place that
it is dedicated checks this assertion.