Rugbysme, rugby and modern art

7 September 2007 - 24 November 2007

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During the Rugby World Cup, for which Montpellier Agglomération is a venue in Fall 2007, Musée Fabre Puts in evidence the link between this sport and Modern Art through an exhibition showing the works of two artists from the Cubist Movement, André Lhôte and Robert Delaunay.

The beginning of 20th Century is characterised by the issue of the body and hygiena, and witnesses a considerable development of sports equipments (Pool of the Butte aux Cailles, 1920). Also, most people tend to exercise, whichever layer of the society they belong to. Open-airism, heliotherapy, and naturism gain more and more adepts, but the cult of the body also contains nationalist echoes, and it is well-known how countries take advantage of more and more grandiose Olympiads.

The apparition of Football Players in the work of the Douanier Rousseau shows the rise of sport as subject in arts. Delaunay then takes some interest in this ball game still called « football-rugby » and uses it as one of the favourite subjects of his work, centred on the description of modern life. Rugby is in vogue as well as aviation, luna parks, advertising, mechanics, the Eiffel Tower, electricity. Around The Cardiff Squad (1913), Robert and Sonia Delaunay multiply sketches and even study the possibility of a ballet with Léonide Massine and Manuel de Falla.
André Lhôte, who took part to the exhibition of the Section d’Or along Delaunay, studies rugby between 1917 and 1925. He makes several big paintings, of which the imposing Rugby , in the MNAM collections. It is probably in these works that André Lhôte is the most avant-gardist, as they are strongly geometrised and contain coloured zones.
This exhibition gathers twenty works, most of them not showed before, coming from European public and private collections. It will be included in the permanent collection with no additional fee.