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Fodor's France 2014
Musée Fabre Review
From crowd-packed Place de la Comédie, Boulevard Sarrail leads north past the shady Esplanade Charles de Gaulle to this rich, renowned art museum. Renovated in 2006, it is a mixed bag of architectural styles (a 17th-century hôtel, a vast Victorian wing with superb natural light, and a remnant of a Baroque Jesuit college). The collection inside is surprisingly big, thanks to the museum's namesake, a Montpellier native. François-Xavier Fabre, a student of the great 18th-century French artist David, established roots in Italy and acquired a formidable collection of masterworks—which he then donated to his hometown, supervising the development of this fine museum. Among his gifts were the Mariage Mystique de Sainte Catherine, by Veronese, and Poussin's coquettish Venus et Adonis. Later contributions include a superb group of 17th-century Flemish works (Rubens, Steen), a collection of 19th-century French canvases (Géricault, Delacroix, Corot, Millet) that inspired Gauguin and Van Gogh, and a growing group of 20th-century acquisitions that buttress a legacy of paintings by early Impressionist Frédéric Bazille.
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