Aix-en-Provence’s Granet XXe: 20th Century Boys

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Granet XXe Collection Jean Planque, Aix-en-Provence, France

It’s an interesting juxtaposition for the modern art of Aix-en-Provence to be housed in a pretty little chapel built in 1654.  It’s been adapted to house the impressive collection of Jean Planque, which is 20th century heavy, and made up of works which he sometimes got straight from the artists, which is pretty cool.

Granet XXe, Aix-en-Provence, France

The chapel was originally for the convent of the Carmelites before being rebuilt for the Pénitents blancs, and after the general shutting down of religion during the French Revolution, it was used to store animal feed for the army.  In 1817 it was given back to the Pénitents blancs, before the city once again took possession and used it as an annex for the Aix Museum – now the Granet Museum.  From 1880 until 2013 it had a varied life, serving as a school and conference centre, before finally being dedicated to the Jean Planque collection.

The Jean and Suzanne Planque Foundation was launched in 1997 to conserve the works collected by Jean Planque and from 2000 there were European tours displaying the works in numerous museums and galleries.  As it stands, the collection has been loaned to the museum for 15 years – what happens afterwards… who knows.

The Swiss-born Jean Planque was from a humble family, and worked his way up to becoming an art expert, working for the Beyeler gallery in Basel.  Through his work, he met not only important collectors and curators but also the great artists of the day – including Picasso. They met in 1960, when Planque was sent by the Gallery Beyeler to take a Cézanne painting to Picasso, for a viewing. He didn’t buy it, but a strong friendship was built between the two, and an interesting display is on show for us to admire the results of this friendship.

So In Summary

Of the paintings in the collection, I was most taken with the Picassos.  Honestly, most 20th century art leaves me cold, and I found the rest of the pictures on show to be somewhat less interesting than I’d hoped.  My photos reflect this limited interest.  But if you like Dubuffet, Degas, Bonnard, Monet, Renoir, Dufy, Braque, Cézanne and their ilk, you’ll be doubtless enchanted by what’s on show.

Further Information

Being linked to the Granet Museum, the information about the Granet XX is on their website – and in English:

How To Get There

Aix is a small town, and you can easily walk there from the bus station.  For more information, please check out my post which talks about the way to get to the town from Marseille.


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