FAMM, the first private museum in Europe dedicated to female artists, opens its doors in Mougins
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FAMM, the first private museum in Europe dedicated to female artists, opens its doors in Mougins
Christian Levett in front of Grace Hartigan's Two Women, 1954.



MOUGINS.- FAMM (Female Artists of the Mougins Museum) will unveil to the public from 21st June onwards, over a hundred works created by more than 80 female artists from around the world. The four floors of the former MACM (Mougins Museum of Classic Art), located in the heart of the historic village of Mougins since 2011, will now house a breathtaking array of A+ artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs, by top women artists who have marked the major artistic movements from the 19th century to the present day.

Christian Levett, an art collector for nearly thirty years, and recognised for his philanthropic commitments in the arts and other causes, is the originator of this ambitious project. The wider Levett Collection features an expanding array of over 500 works by female artists, which will be showcased through regular rotations at the museum. FAMM will offer visitors an unprecedented museum experience in the south of France.

"Having collected art for a quarter of a century, my tastes have evolved, so I think it's time for the museum to evolve too. I am looking forward to opening our new museum FAMM, which I am certain will quickly become a must-visit destination for art lovers, students, researchers and curators alike" declares Christian Levett.

Heading a collection of around 2,000 works, Christian Levett has repeatedly demonstrated his desire to increase the visibility of female artists. Since March 2021, he organises private tours of his Florence palazzo, entirely decorated with works by women, for groups of museum patrons, academics, and collectors.

He has curated exhibitions and, in 2023, published the book Abstract Expressionists: The Women, giving a history of the often- overlooked women artists of this period, backed by his collection. The reopening of the Mougins Museum on 21st June as FAMM, enhances his advocacy for women in the arts.

Among the great names in art history, FAMM will exhibit works by Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Blanche Hoschedé- Monet, Louise Nevelson, Barbara Hepworth, Frida Kahlo, Leonor Fini, Lee Krasner, Maria Helena Vieira Da Silva, Dorothea Tanning, Louise Bourgeois, Leonora Carrington, Elaine de Kooning, Lalan (Xie Jinglan), Joan Mitchell, Alma Thomas, Helen Frankenthaler, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Howardena Pindell, Marina Abramović, Marlene Dumas, Nan Goldin, Carrie Mae Weems, Sarah Lucas, Shirin Neshat, Tracey Emin, Cecily Brown, Jenny Saville, Alice Neel, Elizabeth Colomba, as well as numerous works by top emerging female artists.

FAMM will prove to be the ultimate voyage in artistic discovery for the visitor.

THE MUSEUM CURATION

The museum’s permanent exhibition is organised chronologically from the late 19th century to the present day.

THE FIRST GALLERY

The journey begins with the Impressionist movement, highlighting the work of artists such as Berthe Morisot, one of its founders, alongside Eva Gonzalès or Mary Cassatt and continues with Post-Impressionism, represented amongst others by the oil on canvas Le fils du roi (1906) by Jacqueline Marval.

Representations of daily life and landscapes give way to the fantastical and whimsical shapes that define Surrealism. Among the notable contributions to this significant movement exhibited in this gallery, one can admire Les étrangères (1968) by Leonor Fini or Mid-Day of the Canary (1967) by Leonora Carrington.

THE SECOND GALLERY

The first floor of the museum is dedicated to abstraction. Works include iconic pieces from the major post-war artistic movement developed in the United States - Abstract Expressionism. For instance, Prophecy (1956) by Lee Krasner, Abstraction #3 (1959) by Elaine de Kooning, and Joan Mitchell’s Rufus’ Rock (1966), inspired by one of her stays on the French Riviera.

THE THIRD GALLERY

Dedicated to figurative art, the museum’s second floor features styles that are as expressive as they are diverse. Important works, such as the sculpture Nature Study (2007) by Louise Bourgeois, the painting Jackie Curtis as a Boy (1972) by Alice Neel, and the photograph Carrying the Skeleton (2008) by Marina Abramović, add a psychological dimension to the artistic representation of the body.

THE FOURTH GALLERY

The visit culminates with an eclectic exhibition of purely 21st century artworks featuring contemporary female artists who carry forward the legacies of their predecessors. For example, one can find the sculpture Tit-Cat Down (2012) by Sarah Lucas, the oil on canvas Hurricane (2007) by Tracey Emin, previously in the George Michael collection, or the work on paper Generation (2012-2014) by Jenny Saville RA.

WHY WOMEN?

The origin of Christian Levett’s collection dates back to the mid- 1990s. Driven by his passion for art and history, he established the Museum of Classical Art in Mougins in 2011, famous for its juxtaposition of ancient artefacts and modern art. As he continuously enriched his collection, Christian Levett became captivated by the museum-quality works created by women. Subsequently, he acquired numerous pieces created by both established and emerging female artists.

Historically, female artists have been largely under-represented in museums and seldom mentioned in specialist publications, despite their notable contributions to the art world. They often worked alongside their male counterparts, mutually inspiring one another, and as Helen Frankenthaler pointed out, art transcends gender: " I am a painter, I am a woman... Gender contributes no more to the value of a piece than any other adjective you might place before the word painter—whether it’s about colour, religion, wealth, or culture "

FAMM will play a key role in championing women artists alongside already established institutions such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, USA or the Frauenmuseum in Bonn, Germany. It is also important to highlight that the number of temporary exhibitions dedicated to these ‘forgotten’ artists has rapidly increased in recent years in major museums worldwide: Musée d’Orsay, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, Centre Pompidou, Denver Art Museum, Royal Academy of London, Guggenheim Bilbao, and many others. Among the many initiatives undertaken to address this topic, it is important to mention the numerous research projects, publications, conferences, and podcasts, such as Katy Hessel’s The Great Women Artists, and organisations such as AWARE that greatly contribute to the dissemination of these studies and to creating an inclusive and diverse artistic landscape.










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