Modern art from 1850 to 1914

Rooms 37 through to 42, on the second floor of the Collège des Jésuites, mark a complete break with preceding sections, exploring the emergence of modernism in painting. Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), the first hero of this artistic revolution, devoted himself to a realistic, unadorned depiction of the world as he saw it, with a triumphant expression of profound humanity and truth. His friendship with the collector Alfred Bruyas eventually led to the Musée Fabre's acquisition of a remarkable collection of canvases, including The Meeting and The Bathers. The Montpellier painter Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870) continued Courbet's exploration of realism and established the foundations for an entirely new approach to painting: Impressionism. In the late 19th century, Symbolism sought to reinstate a sense of spirituality and mystery in painting (Carrière), while the avant-garde artists of the early 20th century favoured the direct, dynamic use of raw colour (Matisse, Van Dongen, Delaunay, Dufy, Chabaud, Kupka...), as a totally modern means of expression. Violent contrasts anticipated the upheavals of the imminent Great War.

Courbet Gallery

Salle Courbet

This modern, light-filled space marks a complete break with the vaulted galleries on Level 1. The great...

Oeuvres du parcours

Salon Courbet / Bazille

Salon Courbet-Bazille

This small viewing room is set aside for screenings of video films exploring Gustave Courbet and Realism,...

Oeuvres du parcours

Bazille Gallery

Salle Bazille

The Bazille Gallery is the first of a series of rooms retaining their original French-style ceilings (part...

Oeuvres du parcours

Castelnau Gallery

Salle Castelnau

This light-filled gallery leads to the contemporary building constructed over the Bourdon Court, housing paintings from the...

Oeuvres du parcours

Cabinet Canonge

Cabinet Canonge

This multi-purpose space retains two monumental columns from the old Collège des Jésuites. Works by masters of...

Oeuvres du parcours

Gallery of the moderns / Salle des modernes

Salle des Modernes

Enriched by a number of exceptional deposits from the Musée National d’Art Moderne, this gallery illustrates the...

Oeuvres du parcours