BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Masters and Romantics

Collection Lambert – Avignon, France

Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Franck Couvreur
Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Franck Couvreur

The legendary French gallerist and collector, Yvon Lambert, is famed for his relentlessly forward-looking approach to visual art as well as uncanny acumen for understanding how art works and spaces interact with each other. These two strands of Lambert’s life in art intertwine eloquently at the Collection Lambert in Avignon which houses more than 500 works from one of the most storied and vibrant collections of contemporary art anywhere in the world. Since 2000, the collection has been housed at the Hotel de Caumont, an expansive eighteenth-century townhouse designed by Jean-Baptiste Franque and his son Francois, that embodies the sophistication and architectural precision of the French neoclassical period. The nearby restored Hotel de Montfaucon also houses part of the collection. In Avignon, there is always a profound sense of histories overlapping as one navigates between modern shops on the high street, castles from the middle ages and the sweeping courtyards of townhouses like the Hotel de Caumont. It is only the incongruous English lettering of a Lawrence Weiner work over the keystone of a window frame that reminds the viewer that we firmly entrenched in the age of smartphones and laptops.

Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Franck Couvreur
Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Franck Couvreur

Inside, the bracing aesthetics of modernity take over amid the swirling neon arcs that surround a semi-circular skylight in the atrium that, on a sunny day, throws angular shadows and sunlight through the space. The rooms and corridors of the Hotel have a clean, almost futuristic layout. Though the interior hallways and the galleries of the Hotel are informed by a taste for sheer lines and precise curves, the works on show are anything but clinical. Lambert’s tastes may be exacting, but they are also deeply informed by an evocative, urban romanticism exemplified by the dialogues of such modern romantics as Julian Schnabel, whose work sits in a tense and fruitful dialogue with the works of another icon of 1980s New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat, in one of the collection’s galleries. Lambert’s affinity for modern American masters is visible throughout the gallery, notably in a generous selection of works by the illustrious Cy Twombly, perhaps the greatest American history painter of the twentieth century, and Andreas Serrano’s pained meditations on the iconographies of embodiment and suffering.

Front view of Collection Lambert. Photo: Berger & Berger Architects
Front view of Collection Lambert. Photo: Berger & Berger Architects
Staircase of Collection Lambert. Photo: Berger & Berger Architects
Staircase of Collection Lambert. Photo: Berger & Berger Architects

The collection is not limited to giants of American art, but contemporary greats from around the world. I was particularly entranced by a lively sculptural work by the Polish artist, Mirosław Bałka, that dominates the inner courtyard of the Hotel. The lightness and delicacy of Bałka’s piece contrasts beautifully with the pale stones of the Hotel’s arcade. And as would be expected, there is a substantial helping of work by contemporary French masters to be found on show as well, including pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Daniel Buren and the brilliant, if somewhat unsung photographer, Gisele Freund. In recent years, as Lambert’s eye has turned to more contemporary voices, and a number of video works have also been added to the collection. It is only fitting, for a space that connects so many epochs of time in a city so rich with history that the future should play a central part in an eternally evolving story of creativity.

Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Pascal Martinez
Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Pascal Martinez
Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Pascal Martinez
Installation view at Collection Lambert. Photo: Pascal Martinez

William Kherbek is the writer of the novel Ecology of Secrets (2013, Arcadia Missa) and the forthcoming UltraLife (2016, Arcadia Missa). His art journalism has appeared in a number of publications in the UK, US, Germany, Switzerland and Romania.

All images courtesy Collection Lambert, Avignon

More Information on Collection Lambert

Collections (94)

Kasteel Wijlre Estate

Art from the 1960s to the present in a modern pavilion

Museum Liaunig

Nuriel Molcho and Francesca Gavin travel out of Vienna to hillside Carinthia, to meet with Peter Liaunig

Fundació Vila Casas

Three buildings, three points of focus: painting, sculpture and photography

Gibbs Farm

A sculpture park in XXL format with monumental art in the grandness of nature

Kloster Schoenthal

Nature-inspired sculptures in a pristine landscape

Pinchuk Art Centre

Blue-chip contemporary in the first private museum in the former USSR

Museo James Turrell — The Hess Art Collection, Colomé

Turrell’s largest Skyspace and additional light rooms in breathtaking surroundings

Kunst(Zeug)Haus

An extensive private collection of Swiss contemporary art of the last fifty years

Mathaf—Arab Museum of Modern Art

A Royal Collection Spanning 200 Years of Arab Art – Doha, Qatar

Sara Piccinini

Senior Coordinator, Collezione Maramotti - Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reflection and Speculation

Sammlung von Kelterborn – Frankfurt, Germany

KaviarFactory

DJ Cassy and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Venke and Rolf A. Hoff in Henningsvær, Norway

Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg

Positions of social criticism in German and American contemporary art – Hamburg, Germany

Houghton Hall

Pari Ehsan and Francesca Gavin meet with collector Lord David Cholmondeley in King’s Lynn, Norfolk

The Walther Collection

Inside and Outside the Frame – Neu Ulm, Germany

Peter Ibsen Collection

Minimalist Works That Hone Your Sense for Detail – Copenhagen, Denmark

Initiating Dialogues

Sammlung Hoffmann – Berlin, Germany

The Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

Andrea Denver and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin in Upstate New York

The Agah Uğur Collection

One of the Largest Video Art Collections in Istanbul, Turkey

KA Modern and Contemporary Art Space

900 Square Meters Dedicated to Lebanon’s Most Significant Artists – Beirut, Lebanon

Art About Beauty and Infirmity

Collezione De Iorio – Trento, Italy

Living Collection

Gary Yeh and Francesca Gavin meet with architect and collector William Lim in Hong Kong

Early Passions

Z Collection – Hong Kong, China

Infinite Interiors

Philara Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Papko Art Collection

Works of Turkish Modernism at the legendary Ralli Apartment in Istanbul

Risky Business

Astrup Fearnley Museet – Oslo, Norway

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Pari Ehsan and Francesca Gavin meet with collector Patricia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy

Something Special, Something Sacred

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, United States of America

JAHM – Justin Art House Museum

Digital and Abstract Art — Melbourne, Australia

A More Democratic Art

MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Embracing the Accidental

Trajković Collection – Belgrade, Serbia

Galila's P.O.C.

A Collection Made up of Thematic Collections – Brussels, Belgium

Establishing Roots and Creating Links

The Ovidiu Șandor Collection – Timișoara, Romania

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz

Abstract painting and concept art in Brazil’s interior – São Paulo

Conversation Pieces

KUNSTSAELE Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Magazzino Italian Art

Contemporary Italian Art on the Hudson River – New York

Slow Learning

de la Cruz Collection – Miami, United States of America

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

A venue for contemporary African art – Cape Town

The Elliott Eyes Collection

Engaging With the Collectors – Sydney

Foundation Francès

A French roadtrip reaching the radical reflections of artist Kader Attia

The Sublime Hyacinth Collection

Czech Art Meets Czech Design – Prague, Czech Republic

Marciano Art Foundation

Contemporary art at the Masonic temple – Los Angeles

Time Stamps

Julia Stoschek Collection – Berlin, Germany

Generative Grammars

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Chasing the Future

dslcollection – Paris, France

Charged Atmospheres

Transformer Station – Cleveland, United States of America

Places in, and out of, Time

Adrastus Collection – Arévalo, Spain

Eloquent Silences

The Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Counting to Ten

Ten Cubed – Melbourne, Australia

Dispersing Narratives

The Wedge Collection – Toronto, Canada

Dialogues in Nature

Chatsworth – Bakewell, Great Britain

Present Pasts

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Space for the Future

The Vanhaerents Art Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Colección Contemporánea

A Global Collection from a Seasoned Art Collector In Mexico City

Adrastus Collection

A Collection That Shows the Diversity of Art in the Age of Globalization – Arevalo, Spain

Fondazione Rolla

A Collection of Modern and Contemporary Photography in Ticino

Finnish Rhapsody

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Cranford Collection

One of Europe’s Most Important Collections with Renowned Contemporaries in Regent’s Park – London

Broad Minded

Artist Tomasz Kobialka on The Broad – Los Angeles, USA

Jean-Paul Najar Foundation

European-American Post-Minimalist Art in a Bauhaus-inspired building – Dubai

Treasure Hunt

The Wanås Foundation/Wanås Konst – Knislinge, Sweden

AMC Collezione Coppola

A Curious Collector Acquiring Art to Broaden his Understanding of the World

A Home for Light and Color

MALBA – Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires

Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst’s ‘Murderme’ Collection finds a permanent home – London

Franks Suss Collection

A Duo Investing in Artists and Not Cashing In – Hong Kong, London and Sydney

Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

A Magic Sculpture Garden in Westchester County – Pound Ridge, New York

Shine On

Wurlitzer – Berlin-Pied-à-Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn

Lavish 18th Century interiors juxtaposed with contemporary outdoor sculpture

Venet Foundation

An Artist’s Take on Collecting in the South of France

G2 Kunsthalle

Large-scale paintings of the New Leipzig School in dialogue

The Immaculate Collection

Igal Ahouvi Art Collection – Tel Aviv, Israel

dslcollection

The best of Chinese contemporary art, available 24/7/365

Thoma Foundation

Two intimate art spaces in Chicago and Santa Fe encourage dialogue between work and viewer

Lyon Housemuseum

Located near Melbourne, Australia, collector Corbett Lyon designed the Housemuseum to share it with the public

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Inhotim – Instituto de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico

Portraiture Confronting a Land’s Traumatic Past

The Walther Collection – Project Space New York – New York City

Conceptual Authenticity

Sammlung Barbara und Axel Haubrok - haubrok projects - Berlin, Germany

A Self-taught Collector

Vass Collection - Veszprém, Hungary

Roots in Rotterdam

Concordia Collection - Rotterdam, Netherlands

Louvre goes Lens – and Pinault follows

How France’s most established museum and collector are redeveloping forgotten places

History Reinvented

Insights into the influential collection of Martin Parr

A Collection Which Never Sleeps

David Roberts Art Foundation – Great Britain, London

Get Lucky

David Walsh and his MONA

An Eye into a Secret World

SIP Shpilman Institute for Photography – Tel Aviv, Israel

Gifts for Philadelphia

Private collectors with a generous heart

A New Home for Miami’s Art Scene

On the opening of the Jorge M. Pérez Museum

Prima Materia at Punta Della Dogana

François Pinault Foundation - Venice, Italy

Eric and Jean Cass Collection

A private collection goes public

Bernardo Paz’s Transformative Museum

A closer look at Inhotim in Brazil

The Open Road to Jupiter

Robert & Nicky Wilson - Jupiter Artland

Collecting with an Impact

Dakis Joannou - Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art

Menil Collection Makeover

Starting with the parking lot

White Rabbit Collection

Chinese Contemporary Art – Australia, Sydney