The Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt houses
rare historic documents and memorabilia that attest to its
origins as well as artwork of many genres by French and American artists.
It is the only French national museum that celebrates
A Testament to the Friendship
between Two Great Nations
A history and art museum located on the strategic route between Paris and Brussels that was created in the aftermath of World War I. Its founder: Anne Morgan, a daughter of the American financier J.P. Morgan.
A humanitarian acknowledged by the French government,
Ms. Morgan spearheaded aid and reconstruction efforts on site in the devastated Picardy region. The Museum houses rare historic documents and memorabilia that attest to its origins as well as artwork of many genres by French and American artists.
It is the only French national museum that celebrates French-American friendship. Although closed for renovation and construction for a number of years, its sumptuous gardens and two pavilions (the Library and Anne Morgan’s home) have been open continuously. The Museum will reopen in 2016 with a new exhibition hall and a stunning design with state-of-the-art multimedia components. In addition, a new educational annex known as L’Orangerie is under renovation.
Work in Progress!
In the early 2000s, a decision was made to expand the Franco-American Museum. The extension plans became more and more ambitious. Then to everyone’s amazement, in spring 2007 the workers fell upon archeological vestiges from the Middle Ages as well as the original 17th century château.
Work was halted temporarily. Finally, construction work to consolidate the vestiges resumed under the direction of a leading head architect of historic monuments. Afterwards, construction of the extension created by noted architect
Yves Lion got underway. The archeological bridge was cleared, a new bridge was built to enter the museum and what followed was construction of floors, pillars, and a structure of glass walls.
A top French museum specialist (museographer), Adrien Gardère, was brought in to create a new exhibition design having three components: the Influence of the Enlightenment; The American Revolution and Two World Wars; and The Arts: American artists in France and French artists in America.
The Museum’s Collections & Contents
The unique collection includes over 15,000 paintings, sculptures, objects, artworks, documents and memorabilia (mainly of the World War I era) as well as a Franco-American library. It is a historical and art museum which focuses on culture and art as strong assets. Its remarkable collection of 19th and 20th century paintings and sculpture brings together the work of American artists in France and French artists in America, and attests to the richness of two centuries of artistic exchanges between the two countries.
Examples of the Museum’s contents: a newly acquired sculpture, “Treaty of Friendship” showing Louis XVI and Benjamin Franklin by Charles Lemire, portraits of Native Americans showing French fascination for Native American cultures; George Washington and Thomas Jefferson likenesses by noted sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Paintings by Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, Romaine Brooks, Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder, as well as Paul Colin’s poster project for La Revue Nègre, the first appearance of singer Josephine Baker in France. An amazing WWI collection including an American Field Service ambulance—a model T Ford.
The New World Gardens
The Gardens of the New World at Blérancourt offer a selection of flowers and trees originating from the American continent including maple, oak and Virginia magnolia trees. These beautiful seasonal gardens were created by Americans Mark Rudkin and Madison Cox with Frenchman Michel Boulcourt, and made possible through the support of the American Friends of Blérancourt. A unique red-white-and-blue field of flowers represents the French-American connection.