Pietro Consagra, Ferro Trasparente arancio, 1965, painted iron, 247 x 164,5 x 12,5 cm
HISTOIRE(S) D'UNE COLLECTION, Paris, Centre Pompidou
Exhibition view

25 May 2018 - 15 Apr 2019
Paris, Centre Pompidou

This new circuit revisits the history of the Musée National d’Art Moderne’s collections as we celebrate the bicentenary of the Musée des Artistes Vivants, of which it is one of the heirs. This “retrospective” of the museum’s collections is laid out in some fifteen sections scattered through the modern circuit. 
Over 120 works, accompanied by an all-new documentary system, explore the identity of the Musée National d’Art Moderne and its predecessors from the 1920s to the opening of the Centre Pompidou.


Bernard Blistène

Once a year a new sequence of dossier exhibitions comes to punctuate the visitor’s path through the Centre Pompidou’s collections, offering a new angle on the history of 20th-century art. From cross-passage displays to vitrines to dedicated rooms, these resources for study and research cast light on neglected aspects of the story. Following a sequence devoted to “The Listening Eye” that explored links between the visual arts and music from 1905 to the mid-1960s, this new instalment looks at the history of the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne (MNAM), and this on the bicentennial of the foundation of its forerunner, the Musée des Artistes Vivants.

The fruit of a long-term research project conducted with a number of partners, among them the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, the Musée d’Orsay, the Archives Nationales and the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, this “retrospective” of the Museum’s holdings is organised in fifteen sections dispersed along the main route through the modern collections. Accompanied by illuminating historical documentation, this selection of more than 120 works explores the self-understanding of the MNAM and predecessors, the Musée des Artistes Vivants (or Musée de Luxembourg) and the Musée du Jeu de Paume. How did they react to the art that was being made? What were the positions they took up as contemporary art triumphed? Punctuating the display of the main collection – organised around a succession of crucial masterpieces – the various sections of this unique project show in what way institutional acquisition decisions related– or failed to relate – to contemporary artistic developments.