Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture, the spouses Martine and Léon Cligman and Christelle Morançais, President of the Pays de la Loire Region, today officially donated 522 works to the State and assigned them to the Region, in the presence of Bruno Retailleau, senator of Vendée and former president of the regional council, and Dominique Gagneux, chief curator of heritage, director of the future Museum of modern art of Fontevraud.

A tripartite agreement between the State, the region and donors, signed on 29 September 2017, had previously set the framework for the assignment of the Cligman collection to the Regional Council of the Pays de la Loire which has undertaken to present it in a new museum that will take place in the course of 2019 in the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud (Maine-et-Loire).

Martine and Léon Cligman’s collection brings together works of art of great quality. It consists of paintings of major and representative artists of the XIXe and XXe from Corot to Dubuffet, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, Derain and Delaunay. Enriched with a large number of drawings, such as those of Degas, Seurat or Vuillard, it also includes remarkable sculptures, including the bust of Balzac by Rodin, three sculptures by Degas and an exceptional set of fourteen sculptures by Germaine Richier. The collection is complemented by archaeological and extra-European works (Africa, Oceania, America, Asia) of both great diversity and great coherence.

Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture, warmly thanks the donors for their generosity, which shows an unwavering commitment to the arts, their knowledge and their transmission. Gathered for forty years, this collection, now offered to the public, is the result of a sensitive work and a sensitive look: Martine Cligman is herself a painter; her husband Léon Cligman has long been known for her commitment to heritage, arts and culture, through numerous mandates, notably with the Association pour le Rayonnement de l'Opéra de Paris (AROP), the Heritage Foundation or the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris.

Placed under the responsibility of the Regional Council of Pays de la Loire, the Cligman collection will be installed in a new museum, intended to receive the designation Museum of France, which will open in the Fannerie, former stables in the XVIIIe century of the mothers abbesses of the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, state property managed by the region.

The restoration and development work, carried out under the project management of the region and the State, will make it possible to upgrade this building classified as a historical monument, and to improve the coherence and traffic axes of the abbey’s reception. The architectural project, led by Christophe Batard, Chief Architect of Historical Monuments, offers a refined architecture, redistributing the spaces and interior volumes in respect of the exterior aspect of the monument. The scenography, entrusted to Studio Constance Guisset, will develop different atmospheres, and possibilities of exhibition sober, flexible and modular, marked by references and tributes to donors and artists. The exhibition space, which will be exclusively dedicated to the Cligman collection, will be 1,205 m long2, of which 455 m2 for the temporary route.

The financial investment for the future Regional Museum of Modern Art in Fontevraud – Martine and Léon Cligman Collection is supported by the Regional Council of the Pays de la Loire. The Cligman couple also set up an endowment fund of €5 million to support the installation and enrichment of the collection.

Françoise Nyssen welcomes this project, which participates, in line with the priorities of the Ministry of Culture, to disseminate arts and culture in all the territories, and thanks all the actors involved: the donors, the region of the Pays de la Loire, and the State services.