Strasbourg Cathedral must be one of the great treasures in the heritage of European building. With its soaring vaults, stained glass windows and absolutely stunning western facade, the gothic masterpiece dominates the city. It is appropriate, then, that the modern art collection is also contained in a building of cathedral like proportions.
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art was completed in 1998 on the bank of the River Ill, designed by the French architect, Adrien Failsilber. The design is based on galleries on either side of a central glass-covered walkway some 22m high and over 100m long. It houses Strasbourg’s collection of art from 1870 to the present day, and one of the most important in France, with over 18000 paintings and sculptures.
Jean Arp and Gustave Dore are both very connected with Strasbourg and unsurprisingly the permanent exhibition sees these artists well represented. I find Jean Arp’s works so evocative crossing from dada into modern abstract, and see his influence in many twentieth century artists such as Moore and Hepworth.
Being in Alsace there is much German influence in the collection and I spent time in the gallery dedicated to Wassily Kandinsky, another of the great influencers of the period based in Munich. Kandinsky is another that allowed music and painted art to interplay in his work.
The contemporary section passed me by I’m afraid as I ran out of time . Even on holiday there are schedules to complete and trains to catch! It does mean that I will have to return to Strasbourg to complete my visit. It will also allow me to see the wonderful western facade of the cathedral again, which I think is such a great contributor to the perpendicular style becoming so representative of late medieval England (more on that another time).
So that is this years trip to Europe over and there is so much I have not had time to post about such as Chartres, the castle at Carcassonne, Nice, Venice, Innsbruck and of course Dieppe, all with their rich artistic traditions.