Destination France – Ingres Bourdelle Museum

“Drawing is the probity of art. To draw does not mean simply to reproduce contours; drawing does not consist merely of line: drawing is also expression, the inner form, the plane, modeling. See what remains after that!” -Ingres

The Ingres Museum, located in the heart of one of the most attractive cities in the south of France, reopens. After three years of major expansion and complete renovation, it’s remarkable.

The only museum in the world dedicated to Ingres, this flagship of the French culture houses an exceptional collection of paintings and drawings by the master, the largest after the Louvre Museum.

The eldest child of the French neoclassical Jean-Auguste-Dominique was born in 1780 in Montauban, a small town in southern France. Under his father’s tutelage, he demonstrated a talent for violin and a proclivity for drawing at a young age; his earliest-known signed drawing dates to 1789. In 1791, Ingres’s father sent him to Toulouse, enrolling him in the Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture. He studied alongside painters Guillaume-Joseph Roques and Jean Briant and the sculptor Jean-Pierre Vigan. He continued his interest in music, performing second violin with the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse from 1794 to 1796. Ingres’s musical abilities would later give birth to the phrase “Ingres’s violin” used to describe a prodigious, but secondary talent overshadowed by one’s primary occupation as an artist.

Crafted in the early nineteenth century, the Ingres Museum reopens after a complete renovation in December 2019, where visitors will discover the total exhibition in a 21st century art collection. The Ingres museum expanded, updated, and renamed, changing its name to Ingres Bourdelle Museum.

The sculptor, Bourdelle, was the student of Ingres and a world-renown artist from Montauban. All along these periods he is well known by his marbles, bronzes, plasters, models, and finished works, as well as a beautiful set of graphic designs.

Bourdelle is known for his use of quivering Romanesque forms in his depictions of mythological figures. One of his best known works, Hercules the Archer (1909), was a commissioned sculpture for the financier Gabriel Thomas. Born Émile-Antoine Bourdelle on October 30, 1861 in Montauban, France, he learned woodworking as a youth from his father, who was a cabinetmaker. While assisting his father during the workday, he studied drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse in the evening. Moving to Paris in 1885, the artist became an assistant to Auguste Rodin in 1893. Rodin’s influence is evident in many of Bourdelle’s early sculptures. By 1900, he had begun receiving commissions for a number of theaters and later taught classes at his studio to young artists such as Alberto Giametti and Otto Gutfreund. It was around this time period that Bourdelle began freeing himself from the style of Rodin to find his own way of working.

Ingres Bourdelle Museum is the most unique museum in the world, housing more than 4.500 drawings by Ingres, 44 paintings, and his famous violin, as well as his personal collection and documentation. Housed in a listed building in the heart of Montauban, a beautiful city from Occitane en Provence between Toulouse and Bordeaux, the museum houses the legacy of the talented artist born in the country of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Rich in history and exceptional heritage, the city of Montauban pays tribute to his two great artists: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) and Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929). The museum is spread over 2700m 2 with new exhibition areas, enhanced accessibility, a sumptuous conservatory housing Ingres’s drawings throughout an entire floor dedicated to Bourdelle’s work, and magnificent areas to display featured exhibitions.

Ingres Bourdelle Museum is known all around the world for its treasures, specifically, Le violin d’Ingres partant en voyage. Through the loan of artworks, the organization of exhibitions outside the museum, or the signing of partnerships with the biggest international museums, the French museum MIB exhibits its collection all over the world whether it is in Europe (from Villa Medici’s in Rome at the Louvre Museum in Paris, through the galleries of the Palazzo Reale in Milan, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, or the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt), or in China, the United States, and Canada.

The new Museum Ingres Bourdelle will reopen on the 14th of December 2019. It is a wonderful invitation to travel back in time in art and history.

Elle Taylor

Musée Ingres Bourdelle
19, rue de L’Hôtel de Ville – 82000 Montauban – France