The newly-renovated Musée Fabre is paying an exceptional tribute to the work of the painter and collector François-Xavier Fabre – the museum's founder, in 1828 – and his national and international influence. A pupil of David, and the winner of the Grand Prix de Rome in 1787, Fabre was one of the great hopes of French painting in his day, before events took him to Florence where he established a successful career as a commercial painter and art expert.
Fabre's donation of his personal art collection to the City of Montpellier, in 1825, the subsequent opening of the Musée Fabre, the creation of an academy of drawing, and a civic library in 1828, all played a significant role in the development of the city's artistic life, and paved the way for later donations of artworks, including the collection of Alfred Bruyas. Fabre's own works – dispersed in many of the world's great public art collections – include large-scale history paintings, portraits, and landscapes. This retrospective – the first major exhibition devoted to his work – includes some 75 paintings from French collections, notably the Musée Fabre, but also the Louvre, and the city art museums of Nantes, Lyon, Dijon, Poitiers, and Montauban, together with works from elsewhere in Europe: England (London: National Gallery), Scotland (Edinburgh: the National Gallery of Scotland), Italy (Florence, Rome, Turin…), Poland, Lituania, Finland, Switzerland and, finally, the United States (the Virginia: Museum of Fine Art; New York: Dahesh Museum; North Carolina: Oakland Museum), and Canada (Montréal Museum of Fine Arts).
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