The Fine Arts Museum in Quimper

If you need a day’s rest from walking, or just want to explore a town, then Quimper is a good place to go.

The indoor market in Quimper is wonderful, particularly the fish counters, and the lady making crepes seems to be a permanent fixture! She is there, doing the same job, every time we visit the market – and must turn out thousands of crepes every year.

We had come to Quimper to visit the Fine Arts Museum which has some wonderful pictures. The Museum is the 19C building on the right (below), but inside it has been modernised. We had visited before, but I wanted to linger again, and there was also a special exhibition.

The Cathedral Square, Quimper

The Cathedral Square, Quimper

Inside the Fine Arts Museum, Quimper

Inside the Fine Arts Museum, Quimper

There was a special exhibition of paintings by Jean le Moal (1909-2007). I had never heard of him, and apparently this was the point – he was regarded as a major figure in the 20C but also disregarded. Jean Le Moal worked as a painter, photographers, and designer of stained glass and I found I enjoyed very much the colours and boldness of his work.

Jean de Moal: Composition a l'as de coeur (1938)

Jean le Moal: Composition a l’as de coeur (1938)

Jean le Moal: La figure a la Lampe, 1944

Jean le Moal: La figure a la Lampe (1944)

The Museum also has a rich collection of paintings showing Breton life in the past. Alfred Guillou lived in Concarneau and wanted to capture all aspects of Breton life in the area. The ‘Pardon’ is an annual event around Brittany and the occasion when one apologises to one’s friends and neighbours for misdemeanours and asks forgiveness. Not all the church enclosures have graveyards inside the walls anymore, and so it is interesting to see what it used to look like, and how people used to dress. And Camaret is certainly very different these days! The story of King Gradlon is interesting, and he can be seen on top of the Cathedral in the town, but also outside the Church of Argol.

Alfred Guillou, The Arrival of the Pardon of St Anne de Fouesnant in Concarneau, 1884

Alfred Guillou, The Arrival of the Pardon of St Anne de Fouesnant in Concarneau, 1884  

Armand-Eugene Bach, After the Mass, 1893, at the Church of Perros-Guirec

Armand-Eugene Bach, After the Mass, 1893, at the Church of Perros-Guirec

Theodore Gudin: The port at Camaret 1830)

Theodore Gudin: The port at Camaret, 1830

Evariste-Vital Luminais, The Flight of King Gradlon, 1884

Evariste-Vital Luminais, The Flight of King Gradlon, 1884

There are also lighter moments in the Museum!

PIerre de Belay: Le French-cancan a Tabarin, 1937

PIerre de Belay: Le French-cancan a Tabarin, 1937

And there are some wonderful Flemish and Dutch paintings, of which I particularly loved the portrait below.

Adriaen Hanneman: Portrait of Dana van Vrijberghe, 1661

Adriaen Hanneman: Portrait of Dana van Vrijberghe, 1661

There were many more galleries but sadly there is a limit to how much I can absorb on any one visit, and so it was time for a coffee stop, after which we planned to visit the Cathedral of St Corentin.