The Collection Lambert
The Collection Lambert opened its doors in 2000, as part of the Avignon, European Capital of Culture programme. Yvon Lambert, a gallery owner and art collector, decided to store his personal collection in the Hôtel de Caumont, an old town house dating from the 18th century.
Begun in the 1960s, the Collection Lambert represents the tastes, desires and passions of its unique collector: an art dealer since this period, Yvon Lambert battled the academicisms of the French fine arts world that refused since the end of the war to recognize that the centre of artistic creation was no longer the Paris of its glory years, but rather triumphant America.
Minimalism, conceptualism and land art represent the pillars of our collection. In the 1980s, our dealer-collector turned towards a new, more figurative style of painting; then, in the 1990s, photography captured his attention. Since the 1990s, videos, installations and paintings have constituted the bulk of purchases, allowing for the continued growth of this collection ever turned towards the promising young talents of tomorrow.
The collection thus comprises quite coherent ensembles for each artist, to the extent that for certain artists Avignon is the only location in France where one may admire so many masterpieces. This is indeed the case for Cy Twombly, who the public was given the opportunity to discover during the Blooming exhibition in the summer of 2007 (over 30 works), as well as for Robert Ryman (over 10 paintings on canvas), Andres Serrano (who donated 120 photographs to the museum in 2006), Sol LeWitt (over 35 sculptures, works on paper and wall drawings), Nan Goldin (70 photographs), etc. The museum also houses works by Donald Judd, Brice Marden, Daniel Buren, Dennis Oppenheim, Gordon Matta-Clark, Anselm Kiefer, Miquel Barcelo, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Douglas Gordon, Bertrand Lavier…
In July 2012, in Avignon, the President of France officialised, along with the French Minister of Culture and Communication, the donation of the Yvon Lambert collection and its recognition and guardianship as part of French national heritage.
Comprising 556 major artworks, Yvon Lambert’s donation thereby represents the most extensive donation in France since the Moreau-N.laton donation in 1906 to the Louvre comprising works by G.ricault, Corot, Delacroix, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, etc.
Today housed at Avignon’s H.tel de Caumont, the collection will be extended to the adjoining H.tel de Montfaucon in the summer of 2015.
The museum’s extension
A request for proposals was launched for the creation of the new museum in the form of an architecture competition, which was won by Berger & Berger.
Laurent P. Berger, visual artist with a degree from ENSAD, and Cyrille Berger, state-certified architect with a degree from ENSAPLV, have worked together since 2006 as Berger & Berger.
In 2013, the brothers were selected to carry out the extension work on the former and future buildings of the Collection Lambert.
A new museum
Upon its reopening in July 2015, the museum will have more than doubled its total exhibition area. The artistic programme is organized as follows:
In the Hôtel de Caumont (edifice currently housing the Collection Lambert), temporary exhibitions are held. In the adjoining and connecting Hôtel de Montfaucont, works from the permanent collection are exhibite. This second building also offers areas dedicated to the museum’s cultural events programme (an amphitheatre and a large reception room, as well as two outdoor courtyards allowing for the projection of artist’s videos and films, as well as concerts and dance and theatrical performances); there is also an apartment for artist’s residences and an area set aside for restoration work.
Finally, the museum book shop and the restaurant have both double in size.
The new museum will open in July 2015 with two large exhibitions: An exhibition of the collection’s masterpieces, including certain monumental works which haven’t been presented since the inaugural exhibition of 2000, and a group show.