This was still in my drafts folder. It’s a post about when we visited the Musée Marcel-Lenoir in Montricoux (F) last July. I don’t think I posted another version of this. In case I did, sorry for that.
The painter with his wife. Picture borrowed from Wikipedia
Montricoux was the little village we stayed in for a week and this was one of the sights. According to our travel guide Marcel-Lenoir was one of the greatest painters of France but had been completely forgotten. He was a symbolist/art nouveau painter and poster designer. This is one of my favourite art periods so obviously this was something we just had to do.
His museum was located in the local castle which is mostly a 1700ish affair but incorporated an old medieval donjon.
The castle. Image borrowed from Wikipedia
When we got there it was a bit chaotic as there were preparations going on for a reggae festival in the park of the castle and the guy selling the tickets was busy supervising that as well. Unfortunately photography was not allowed so I had to steal most pictures from the net.
When you go through the main door you end up in a circular room with four creepy terracotta gods. There’s a little desk where you can buy the tickets. The man selling them to us said they were meant to be used as a bookmarks afterwards. Interesting idea.
Image from a tourist site on the net
As you can see the tickets have been carefully hand-cut by a very drunk person. After acquiring the tickets the man rushed us through some ground floor rooms towards the donjon which is the start of the visit.
The donjon from the outside. Image from the internet
The donjon was a high cold and very dusty room. High up there was an old wooden balcony on the verge of collapsing on top of our heads. The room was filled with medieval style furniture covered in dust and flaky plaster bits: a long cloister table with matching chairs and some wooden velvet covered benches. Plenty of medievalish trinkets were on display: crockery, pots, candle sticks, embroidered cushions and other useless stuff. that is very good at collecting dust and cobwebs. I felt immediately at home in the castle, it was like travelling back in time to my childhood of rickety furniture, damp, vaulted cellars and the odd ghost.
There was some Marcel-Lenoir (ML hereafter) art on the walls: a framed drawing of angels dancing in a circle and some other stuff. Against the high chimney there was a 1920 style desposition of the cross by ML. Jesus was …. hm very interesting, a rather gender-fluid Gustave Moreauish decadent martyr with long curly hair and no beard. It was painted in bluegreen tones on a large canvas that had been nailed to the damp chimney where it seems to be slowly rotting away.
After this we looked at some rather bad paintings in a dark hallway and then we entered the main more classicist style dining room. The room had stucco mouldings on walls and ceiling. The stucco was white, the flaking walls were painted in some orangey salmon pink wich reminded me of a particularly vile salmon sauce I once got served at a party. I immediately felt nauseous. Luckily my attention was drawn away towards the tattered curtains which were sprinkled with generous amounts of dead flies. There was also a very fresh steaming turd on the floor, with the colour of burnt umber and slightly runny. While I was still Rolling On the Floor with Laughter, the ticket man came rushing in with a dustpan and brush, apologising profusely. It was never clear to us who was responsible for the excrement. Let’s hope it was just a dog.
There was more art in these rooms such as some rather nice art nouveau posters.
Image from Wikipedia
There were also a couple symbolist paintings. One of them was a Jesus head that looked like a Franz von Stuck rehashed for a black metal band from the seventies. It still gives me nightmares when I picture it in my head and I have seen some dark shit in my life.
There were two more rooms to visit, also stuccoed and salmoned. Holes had been drilled in the ceiling and walls in a rather haphazard way to allow for cables and cords to be pulled through. Framed pictures had been piled rather carelessly on tables and were dangling precariously from the edges. More dead flies added a certain fin-de-siècle decadence to the decor. I don’t think it was intentional.
In the large sitting room there were two sofas, both covered in white sheets. When I say white, I mean they were once white but now they were crumpled and covered in black mud. Not sure what happened there. Maybe some satanic orgy involving goats.
This was a most interesting visit.
I managed to photograph one painting by ML. It’s a fresco of the Annunciation. It’s not in the museum but in the church next door. I would rather call it: ‘Gabriel is upset because he missed the last bus and Mary won’t let him stay the night.”