Very proud of the history it shares with husband and wife Paul (1869-1927) and Marguerite (1879-1950) Sérusier, the Breton town of Châteauneuf-du-Faou (about 3,500 inhabitants) has long wanted to dedicate a museum to them. † If all goes well, the Sérusier Museum will open its doors in 2024.
It is held in the heart of the city, near the church, in two adjacent houses that the city bought for this purpose in 2013 and 2017. It will take place on more than 570 m2. The counter, the shop and a multi-purpose room will be on the ground floor. The two floors will house the municipal collection, which includes just over 150 works attributed to the Sérusians. “Flexible and modular”says project manager Anne Le Duigou to the Magazine of the Arts, his suspension will be renewed regularly. This is for the pleasure of the public and the good conservation of the works, which are largely graphic (drawings), so sensitive to light.
The Châteauneuf-du-Faou collection is the basis for the creation of the Sérusier Museum. Created in 1972, from the donation to the city of a painting by Paul Sérusier, The fair in Châteauneuf-du-Faou (1903), it has been enriched over time. The three successive mayors of the city have acquired works of the Sérusians (by purchase, donation or bequest) in the hope of seeing them exhibited in a museum one day, Anne Le Duigou reports.
The City Council recently endorsed the detailed preparatory project of the Sérusier Museum presented by the project manager L’Atelier de l’Île – under whose supervision the expansion of the Pont-Aven Museum was carried out in 2013 – , the town hall and the client Sembreizh. It also approved the estimated cost of the work, estimated at almost 2 million euros, financed with public funds. Work could begin in early winter of 2023. The city, which will manage the museum directly, hopes to open its doors to the public in 2024.
The name Sérusier is easier to associate with Pont-Aven than with Châteauneuf-du-Faou. However, it is in this commune that Paul and Marguerite Sérusier settled permanently. Paul, fifteen years older than Marguerite, studied painting at the Académie Jullian in Paris. After a few summers visiting Pont-Aven and the proponents of his school, Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, the founder of the Nabis group settled in the country of Finistère, in Huelgoat (1892-1893) and then in Châteauneuf -du-Faou (1894-1925). In 1905 he built a house on the heights of Châteauneuf-du-Faou. At first he only stayed there in the summer. The rest of the year he was in Paris. He was a teacher at Ranson Academy. There he met Marguerite, his pupil. Paul and Marguerite were married in Paris in 1912. They immediately moved into the house that Paul had built in Châteauneuf-du-Faou.
Unlike Paul Gauguin, who went to live in the Marquesas Islands, the Sérusians seem to have found all the inspiration they sought in Brittany. In 1883 Paul Serusier wrote: “I am more and more attracted to Brittany, my true homeland since I was born there from the spirit”† Paul and Marguerite took an active part in the life of Châteauneuf-du-Faou. Thus, under the impulse of Marguerite, Paul resumed the study of a decoration project for St. Julien’s Church. The wall decoration, made between 1914 and 1917, represents the most important scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.
The municipality wants to make the future museum the new highlight of a permanent circuit that, through the church and the Sérusier house, follows their Châteauneuvian stage. The Serusier Museum “will strive to make better known these two great artists of the late 19th century and early 20th century, and in particular their ties to Châteauneuf-du-Faou, where they had settled”underlines the mayor Tugdual Braban in the columns of the newspaper West France†