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Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

From 1870 to present day

The Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (frequently referred to as MAMCS) is one of the only museums in France to curate their collection exhibit in a manner that is representative of western European art from 1870 to present day.

The 13 000 m2modern museum building is nestled between the river Ill and the historic district of la Petite France. As its architect Adrien Fainsilber pointed out: “Interaction with the water, light and the historic old town greatly influenced the layout for the museum itself, as well as the surrounding area.” One of the building’s distinctive features is its massive skylighted central nave, which was designed as an “inside street”. It provides the museum with an architectural spine and allows visitors with a clear and open itinerary.

When the MAMCS first opened in 1998, the ground floor was dedicated to modern art and temporary exhibits, while the four large rooms upstairs were dedicated to contemporary art.

In 2018, in honor of the museum’s 20-year anniversary, the layout of the permanent exhibits was entirely reimagined with a curation entitled “Joyeuses frictions” (Joyful frictions). This new approach was constructed around the most noteworthy artists of the museum’s collection: Doré, Monet, Signac, Pissarro, Sisley, Rodin, Arp, Kandinsky, Kupka, Picasso, Séchas, Brauner…

Modern and contemporary art are now exhibited side by side on both floors. The full spectrum of different techniques (painting, sculpture, sketches, etchings, photography, installations, video) are shown side by side, organized by theme in around ten different sections. Designated spaces, like the Studio, have been created within the exhibits, encouraging visitors to interact with the artwork. There are three to four temporary exhibits every year. Make sure you check out the 1000 m2 mural on the façade around the entrance: “From the Air We Share” by art collective FAILE.

In addition to the exhibition spaces, the MAMCS also has an auditorium, a bookshop, a library, and a café. Don’t miss the terrace of the Art Café, which offers a unique panoramic view of the Vauban Dam, la Petite France, and Strasbourg Cathedral.

MAMCS
📍 1 place Hans Jean Arp, Strasbourg

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Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: Museum of Fine Arts

Five centuries of painting in Europe

The Museum of Fine Arts is located on the upper level of the Palais Rohan, which also houses the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Archaeology. Designed like a grand Parisian manor – or “hôtel particulier” – the Palais Rohan was built for Cardinal de Rohan-Roubise, Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg, between 1732 and 1742. After the French Revolution, the Palace served as an imperial and subsequently royal residence, before becoming a museum after 1870.

The Museum of Fine Arts presents an overview of European painting spanning from the Middle Ages to 1870. The museum’s twenty rooms thereby allow you to wander through five centuries of European art, such as the Italo-Byzantine style, the Italian Renaissance, Nordic landscapes, still lifes and vanitases, Dutch 17th-century landscapes, and 19th-century portraits. The collection features pieces by notable artists like Giotto, Titian, El Greco, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens, Goya, van Dyck, Delacroix, Chassériau, Corot and even Courbet.

The Palace’s refined architecture serves as a magnificent backdrop for the museum’s collection. The brightly colored walls and neat lighting showcase the artworks, highlighting their hues and bringing out their contrasts. The golden parquet floor, which creaks charmingly with every step, immerses visitors further in a time long since passed. Beyond the magnificent paintings, the windows looking out over the palace courtyard and Strasbourg Cathedral are eye-catching as well.

Like other visitors must have been before uswe were particularly struck by the allure of La Belle Strasbourgeoise (The Beautiful Strasbourg Woman) by Nicolas de Largillière. This portrait from 1703 is one of the museum’s main attractions and is easily recognizable thanks to the impressive bicorn hat worn by the subject. The painting reveals itself gradually at the end of a long, ornate corridor lined with cobalt blue walls, gilded details, and Corinthian columns. Our experience with this 18th-century piece was a perfect example of Roger de Pile’s quote from 1708: “A true painting must draw in its viewer…and the surprised viewer must respond, as if entering into a conversation.”

The Museum of Fine Arts
📍 2 place du Château, Strasbourg

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Event

L’Industrie Magnifique 2021 takes “place” in Strasbourg

A public art fair in Strasbourg squares!

From the 3rd to the 13th of June, the second-ever Industrie Magnifique (“magnificent industry”) celebrates art meeting industry in public spaces in Strasbourg.

70 artists from all over the world, sponsored by 35 benefactor companies, will present 30 original and monumental pieces they’ve created especially for the occasion. For 10 days, 20 public squares in Strasbourg are transformed into open-air art galleries.

This event is this the result of a project that is completely unique, with 3 players – artists, companies and local authorities – working together towards a common goal. For every collaboration, an artist will first meet with a company to create an original, monumental piece of art. Next, the artist-company duo will work with local authorities to exhibit the piece in a public square. Finally, the resulting pieces are presented at a major public event in the center of town: l’Industrie Magnifique.

Our favorite pieces:

• The spectacular installation “MUSEUM OF THE MOON” (Luke Jerram): a hyper-realistic moon, measuring 7 meters across, floating at the center of the nave in Strasbourg Cathedral. (The piece inside the Cathedral is a part of the “Cosmos District” by art collective L’Ososphère, located in place du Château.)

• The monumental sculpture “TERRE DE CIEL” (land/earth of sky) by Patrick Bartardoz: this three-dimensional Tower of Babel, over 7 meters tall, made from bricks, roof tiles, terracotta, metal and glass tiles, can be found in place Broglie.

• The poetic “PORTÉE AUX NUES” (praised to the skies) by Bénédicte Bach: a dreamy sky full of clouds, made from different textures of white leather, suspended above rue des Hallebardes, with the Cathedral as a backdrop.

• The unique and quirky “LIBÈRE TON ÉNERGIE !” (free your energy) by David David, place des Tripiers: this piece uses the artist’s signature character “La Tête dans L’art” (head in the arts), who is isolated from the hustle and bustle of society thanks to the paint bucket he wears on his head.

L’Industrie Magnifique

From the 3rd to the 13th of June 2021

30 pieces made by 70 artists, 20 squares in the center of Strasbourg

Access to the squares where the exhibition takes places is free.

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Top

Our 15 street art favorites in Strasbourg

Before embarking on a “street art safari” in Strasbourg, we generally begin by agreeing on a search perimeter of a certain number of blocks. Then we comb the streets, looking for a collage, a graffiti piece, a mural, or a painted power box – as if we were looking to spot wild animals on a photo safari in Africa. Whenever we find street art we haven’t seen before, we like to take the time to really examine the piece and figure out what it’s all about, before taking a snapshot of it – as a keepsake.

We love the wildly creative aspect of street art, as well as the accessibility of it, thanks to its presence in public spaces. This form of artistic expression is so much more than just a splash of color or a backdrop for the urban cityscape.

Here are 15 of our favorite street art pieces in Strasbourg