Visit to the Cligman Exhibition

At the Modern Art Museum Fontevraud l’Abbaye

Saturday 19 March 2022 from 10h00

Cost 5 € per group member

Followed by lunch at 12h30 at

Restaurant La Gabelle, 1 rte de Saumur, 49730 Parnay

Cost per head: members 30 €, non-members 34 €

Attendance slips are available from our secretary Mrs Jackie Sheppard,

For more than sixty years, Martine and Léon Cligman collected paintings, drawings and sculptures by 19th and 20th century European artists, and antiques and artefacts from around the world. 

Martine, an artist herself, was the daughter of collectors of works by Degas, Rodin, Maurice de Vlaminck, Raoul Dufy and Chaïm Soutine and many others. 

Léon is famous for his work in the textile industry, creating and acquiring important brands such as Newman, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Christian Lacroix and Lacoste.  Passionate about the Abbey, he always said that his factories were located within an area with Fontevraud at its epicentre.

In 2018 the Cligmans bequeathed their 900-work collection to the State and to the Region of the Pays de la Loire, to be displayed in the Abbey of Fontevraud, a world heritage site. 

Soon afterwards, work began to convert buildings dating from the 18th century, including the original stables, hayloft, and bread ovens used by the nuns and commoners alike. 

The Musée d’Art Moderne was officially opened 19th September 2021 by the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, and the Minister for Culture, Roselyne Bachelot.  Martine and Léon, then aged 89 and 101 respectively, were able to see their dream become reality.


The museum offers a unique approach to the way the paintings and artefacts are displayed, breaking away from traditional presentations that group items by style, period, or genre, used by most galleries.  Here, colour, form, and materials take precedence in an attempt to evoke feelings of wonder, curiosity and reflection in each individual visitor.