Founded in 1794 with works of art appropriated at the time of the French Revolution from the property of émigrés and religious establishments, the fine art museum collection was housed in the city hall (Hôtel de Ville). When the city authorities acquired the abandoned seminary of the former Abbey of Saint Denis in 1908, the decision was made to transfer the fine art museum there. The current location of the museum partly corresponds to the former abbey palace, which dates from the 18C and was modified in the 19C. This location is far from satisfactory from the point of view of safety and space and there are plans to reshape it or even move it to another district in order to do justice to its remarkable collections.
Indeed, donations and bequests from private collectors, government loans and municipal purchases have been gradually added to the museum's collections, making it one of the finest and most important French museums outside Paris. It contains paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings, furniture and objets d'art from the greatest artistic movements and European schools from the 16C to 20C, classed in chronological and subject order. This museum houses some of the most important works of this period.
New room containing 20C works of art – completely reorganised and open to the public since 20 May 2006:
A large area is given over to a multitude of artistic techniques: painting, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, drawing, etc.
Having recently grown as the result of the museum's policy of acquisitions, it is divided into four sections, three of which have close associations with the city's heritage.
• Les Prémices de la Modernité (the beginnings of modernity): with Paul Gauguin, the Nabis and Symbolists (Edouard Vuillard, etc.), Fauvism (Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, etc.) and Cubism (Louis Marcoussis and André Lhote).
• Art Deco (Paul Jouve, Jean Dunand, etc. and Sacred Art (Maurice Denis, Léonard Foujita, etc.).
• Grand Jeu et Surréalisme (Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Joseph Sima, Artür Harfaux, Maurice Henry, etc.). In this section, an entire area is given over to the work of Maurice Henry. Part of his workshop collection is in the process of acquisition.
• Post-1945 abstraction (Vieira da Silva, Charles Marq, Brigitte Simon, etc.).
N.B. As part of the renovation of this room and in keeping with its strong points, a number of outstanding loans have been added to the collection: four works have been placed on loan by France's Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou / CCI – Midi by Joseph Sima, Paysage d'échecs by Jindrich Styrsky, Composition by Giorgio De Chirico and Mozart divertimento K.138 by Serge Charchoune.
Daily from 10am to 12 noon and 2 to 6pm
Closed Tuesday and 1 January, 1 May, 14 July, 1 & 11 November and 25 December.
Pass Découverte: €3 (valid one month for one admission per museum)
Pass mensuel: €8 (valid one month for unlimited admissions)
Pass annuel: €30 (valid a year for unlimited admissions)
Groups: €1.50 (15 or more people)
Free admission for children up to the age of 16, secondary schoolchildren, students, people on income support (RMI), job seekers and young people registered at the ‘Mission Locale pour la Jeunesse' in Reims.
Free admission on the first Sunday of every month.
8, rue Chanzy, 51100 Reims
Phone: +33 (0)188.8.131.52.00
Fax: +33 (0)184.108.40.206.75
Bus: Lines A, F & T – “Beaux-Arts” stop