Museum of Fine Arts

Reims, France

The Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des beaux-arts) was founded in 1794 with objects seized during the French Revolution and was first housed in the city's town hall. Throughout the 19th century its collections grew via purchases and bequests, until in 1908 the city of Reims decided to buy a separate building to house it. Their choice fell on the former Saint-Denis Abbey of Reims located in vicinity of Reims Cathedral. Abbey construction was started in the 9th century by Archbishop of Reims Fulk on the site of a former cemetery. It had then undergone several uses since the Revolution, as the French Directory's district headquarters, a store for artworks from sold-off churches, in 1814 and 1815 a barracks for Russian occupation troops, and finally in 1822 as a grand seminary. It was abandoned as a seminary in 1906 after the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State and the museum moved into it. It was then renovated, with the museum's rooms partly corresponding to the 18th century abbot's palace, rebuilt in the 19th century. The museum was re-opened in its new home on 19 October 1913 by president Raymond Poincaré.


The collections cover all the main European artistic movements from the 16th to 20th centuries and are shown in chronological and thematic order. Though it also houses sculptures, drawings (including 13 exceptional watercolour portraits on paper by Lucas Cranach the Elder, on rotating show in a special room devoted to them), engravings, furniture and objets d’art, most of the museum's objects are paintings, notably from the Flemish, Dutch and French schools and by historic and modern artists, with the French school being the most prominently represented, notably the 17th century.



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Founded: 1794
Category: Museums in France

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4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Thomson Alistair (4 years ago)
Note : this museum closed for major renovation in September 2019 .It be will closed for at least three years. It is hoped some of the collection will be put in display elsewhere in Reims over this period.
Margarita Bagrova (4 years ago)
Nice place, not expensive entrance, great collection of art. Problems with post cards scanning, some old fashion way...
frans zondervan (4 years ago)
The main halls were closed, because of the heat. It will close in October 2019 for extensive refurbishments. It will reopen in 2023.
Marcel Van Den Bos (5 years ago)
It's an ok collection in a gorgeous building that is quite run down and needs some TLC.
Ben Klaasen (6 years ago)
Upstairs, a really lovely digestible collection of European art from the middle ages to the beginning of the 20th century. Check out the Renoir to remind yourself that even geniuses have off days.
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