press release

In the summer of 2015 the Fondation de l’Hermitage will present a major retrospective of the work of Marius Borgeaud, one of the most important figures in early 20th century art in the canton of Vaud. Active mainly in France, Borgeaud was born in Lausanne and remains very popular in Switzerland. Marius Borgeaud is one of the most popular Swiss artists of his generation, alongside Ferdinand Hodler and Félix Vallotton. He was born into a prominent Vaud family in 1861 and started painting at the age of 40, having squandered the inheritance left him by his father. He was initially linked to the Impressionist movement, but soon set out on his own path, unattached to any artistic school. Borgeaud spent his time between Brittany and Paris, where he began exhibiting in 1904. He died in 1924, leaving over 300 paintings.

The selection is organised around themes explored by Borgeaud: Figures and Places, Landscapes, Urban Views, Still Life, Scenes of Breton Life (cafés, pharmacies, town halls) and crucially Interiors. An important element of Borgeaud’s work comprises mysterious domestic interiors peopled with everyday objects, figures who often seem still and pensive, and dogs and cats apparently listening to this silent world. Borgeaud usually added accessories to his scenes, notably hanging images d’Epinal on the walls, indicating his fascination with popular and naïve art. The exhibition at the Fondation de l’Hermitage will evoke this approach through a display of objects with which Borgeaud accompanied his models. The exhibition will also include paintings that resonate with Borgeaud’s work, both by artists he knew and by others he had taken as models (Francis Picabia, Alfred Sisley, Douanier Rousseau, Camille Pissarro and crucially Félix Vallotton).

Mounted with support from the Association of the Friends of Marius Borgeaud, this exhibition of some one hundred works will enable visitors to explore the private world of Borgeaud’s studio through working documents, archives and a documentary film on the artist. It will also include images of everyday life in Brittany in the period between 1900 and 1925. The success of the movement known as the Pont-Aven School brought many artists to this picturesque region after 1880.

The exhibition will be curated by Philippe Kaenel, Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Lausanne and curator of many previous exhibitions, including Eugène Burnand, peintre naturaliste (2004) and Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, l’œil de la rue (2009) at the Musée cantonal des beaux-arts, Lausanne, and Gustave Doré, l'imaginaire au pouvoir at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris (2014).