There’s always something going on in Amboise, especially this year with the town commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo, its most famous resident, but there was an extra frisson this evening. The town opened a brand new art gallery. Well, the building is not new, it has a fascinating history, but the gallery is.
Until this evening Amboise had only the wonderful old church of St Florentin to double up as an exhibition space, but now it has Le Garage. Why the name? Because for many years it was one.
The new space will be dedicated to modern art although the term is a bit of a misnomer. Opinions of those who know about these things differ as when art became modern but most agree on the period between 1860 and 1970. Anything after that is classified as Post-Modern or Contemporary art.
The inaugural solo exhibition by Maxime Thoreau is most definitely contemporary. The sculptor, who has a penchant for concrete, wood and steel, has created some very impressive pieces. He is to be congratulated.
It may very well be his work will stand the test of time. Outside in the garden is a work of art which certainly has. Very fitting Sandy Calder’s Crinkly should end up here not far from the equally famous fountain created by his close friend Max Ernst. The artists lived near each other in the Loire Valley. Ernst in Huismes, Sandy in Saché. The Fountain and Crinkly were commissioned in the 1960s by Michel Debré the dynamic Mayor of Amboise famous for drafting France’s Fifth Constitution.
Crinkly, like the Ernst Fountain, will be a sure draw for tourists. How wonderful if one day Amboise manages to pull off a joint Ernst/Calder Local Lads Exhibition. Tate Modern in London would go green with envy.
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