Although the Maison Rouge closed its doors at the end of 2018, the Musée de Grenoble is holding an exhibition of the personal collection of its founder, Antoine de Galbert. He was born in the city which gave rise to his passion for art when he became a gallery owner, an activity he then swiftly abandoned to devote himself to forming his collection. Put together during the last 30 years of his life, it comes across today as one of the most unusual of private French collections.
It is an implicit self-portrait of its author, for whom the art arena is above all one of freedom. The exhibitions held in Lyon—Ainsi soit-il/So be it, Grenoble—Voyage dans ma tête/Journey in my Head, and Paris—Le mur/The Wall, gave people a chance to discover part of Antoine de Galbert’s collection, but the broad scope of Souvenirs de voyage/Travel Memories further reveals the collection’s coherence and wealth. Above all, it shows how a collection is more than an activity and a set of chosen artists: it is a particular reflection of a personality, a way of looking at the world, and also a philosophy, a sensibility and an existential quest. Antoine de Galbert was fond of saying, not without irony, that his “collection is an addiction”. Travel Memories, in any event, sheds light on the collection’s originality, which is very like its author, preferring the exploration of unknown territories to the art world’s best-known figures.