The museum is located alongside Richelieu Park in the city’s historic centre.
It houses collections focusing on five areas of interest: local history, painting, graphic arts, 19th and 20th-century sculpture around Auguste Rodin, and contemporary art, in particular from the British Isles.
Visitors are invited to wander through the building’s light and airy exhibition areas and explore the museum’s permanent collections and the two temporary exhibitions that are mounted each year.
A special place has been allotted to the 1-in-10 scale model of Chapel of Light, the public commission entrusted to the internationally renowned English sculptor Anthony Caro, for the Church of Saint-Jean Baptiste in Bourbourg (Northern France).
Rodin, from Paris to Calais
In 2008, the Rodin Museum in Paris deposited 24 major works from its collections at the Calais Museum of Fine Arts: original plaster casts, and bronze, terracotta and ceramic heads for the sculptor’s most famous monument, the Burghers of Calais. Of all sizes, and from different periods, these works give us better understanding of Rodin’s creative process and the many stages that finally led to completion of the commission, a heartfelt tribute to the legendary devotion of the Calais burghers.
Calais at home and away
Focusing on Calais and its artists, Calais, d’ici et d’ailleurs offers a new perspective on the city’s art, history and heritage. The geographical location of Calais, a centre of trade and a meeting point at the crossroads between England, Flanders and Paris, goes some way to explaining the city’s relationship with the great European artistic centres. It is this context that we present this selection of works from the 16th through to the 21st century.
The exhibition is divided into five sections: "Sacred forms/Monumental figures", "Henry Lhotellier/ Abstractions", "Jean Roulland/Bodily expressions", "Louis Francia/Seascapes" and "Paul Villy/Calais". Local and universal, near and far are brought together in an exploration of the relationship between local history and art history.
Calais’ Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Lace and Fashion have invited the artist, Annette Messager to take possession of their exhibition areas. For the first time since the Museum of Lace and Fashion opened in 2009, an artistic residency is being organised which shows the two establishments’ interest for creation and the links forged over many years between art and fashion, trade and industry, creation and heritage, knowledge and know-how and transmission and skill. Dessus Dessous (“Upside Down”), is also an exhibition about the history of the artist’s relationship with her oldest pieces and with the town of Calais.
15 pieces and installations, most never yet seen in France and created especially for the occasion- either monumental or more personal- are showcased in the temporary work space of the Museum of Fine Arts and in the permanent work space of the Museum of Lace and Fashion. Works which tackle the themes of odyssey, of travel, of Rodin but also of fashion, seamstresses, tights and bras.
Dessus Dessous is an exceptional exhibition which the artist offers to Calais, the town which already played host an exhibition of her works thirty years ago.
Annette Messager is a French artist, who was born in 1943 in Berck-sur-Mer, 60km outside Calais. These installations, created from a surprising repertoire of shapes and materials, (soft toys, writing, stuffed animals, fabric, wool, photographs, drawings, etc.) combine various social and political registers with humour and sarcasm, playing with our emotions, our sensations and our prejudices.
Annette Messager was awarded the Golden Lion at the 51th Venice Biennial in 2005 for her installation at the French Pavilion. Her work has been exhibited and collected in Paris, New-York and all over the world.
Opened from tuesday to Sunday : 1pm to 6 pm
- Spoken languages
- Tourism and handicap
- Accepted customers
- Guided visits (groups only)
- Children's workshop
- Learning workshop
- Temporary exhibitions
- Mobility impaired
- Mentally impaired
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