To coincide with France's annual Journées du Patrimoine ("Heritage Days"), the Musée Fabre has chosen to spotlight its relatively little-known galleries of 20th century art, with four masterpieces by Bonnard and Marquet, generously loaned by the Musée de Besançon: Bonnard's La place de Clichy and Le Café Au Petit Poucet , and Marquet's Apse of Notre Dame and The Two Friends .
Both artists were beloved of the collector and art critic Georges Besson, who bequeathed the whole of his personal collection to the Musée National d'Art Moderne (MNAM) in 1963. The Musée Fabre collaborates regularly with the MNAM, most recently through the loan of two works by Courbet (The Sleeping Spinner and the Portrait of Baudelaire) to the major national exhibition, Courbet and the Franche-Comté. This exceptional exchange of works allows new pictures to be hung in the context of the permanent collections of both museums; the exhibition also looks ahead to the planned expansion of the Musée Fabre's 20th-century collection, particularly in relation to the themes of colour, and the persistence of figurative art in the early decades of the 20th century. Bonnard's paintings find a particular echo in works by the "painters of poetic reality" exhibited nearby, who clearly followed in the master's wake, in the 1850s.