The museum had to close for technical upgrades, using the opportunity to overhaul its exhibition spaces.
“We are not the Louvre but we have some very beautiful works that we can be proud of nonetheless,” said Guy Thewes, director of the 2 Musées de la Ville de Luxembourg, during a press launch at the start of the month.
The two Luxembourg City museums include Villa Vauban and the Lëtzebuerg City Museum in Rue du Saint-Esprit.
The museum’s collection includes Dutch Masters from the 17th century as well as mid-19th century works. The pieces were mostly donated by Jean-Pierre Pescatore, Léon Lippmann and Eugénie Dutreux-Pescatore in the mid-1800s and around the turn of the century.
The permanent collection of more than 100 paintings and 14 sculptures is housed in an extension, with the main building reserved for temporary exhibitions.
“It is possible to take the time to discover the works, to come back to see the details and to enjoy the contemplation. I find it particularly important, at this moment, to slow down the gaze and, thanks to the works, to (re)educate our gaze,” Thewes said about the new set-up.
A video installation welcomes visitors, seeing some of the works in the collection come to life, a feature that will certainly enchant younger visitors.
Each room then follows a specific theme, from the Dutch golden age, land and people to Italian dreamscapes and French art of the 1850s.
One of the rooms pays tribute to the works donated by Jean-Pierre Pescatore. Photo: Les 2 Musées de la Ville de Luxembourg
Still lifes by Jan Brueghel the Younger, Gerrit Dou, Jan van Goyen, Adam Pynacker, David Teniers the Younger, Jacob van Ruisdael, Adriaen van de Velde and Philips Wouwerman join marble sculptures by Lorenzo Nencini, two splendid views of Venice by Canaletto as well as the Young Neapolitan Women by Guillaume Bodinier and a landscape near Sorrento painted by Oswald Achenbach.
French art of the 19th century is represented by Eugène Delacroix’s Young Turk, a dreamy portrait by William Adolphe Bouguereau and landscapes by Camille Corot, Jules Dupré and Gustave Courbet.
The refurbished exhibition spaces give the works room to breathe, set against monochromatic backgrounds. The permanent exhibition’s final room is dedicated to the sea, concluding the voyage to far-away places while staying right at home in Luxembourg.
“A stroll through art. European painting and sculpture, 17th to 19th century” opened on 5 June to visitors and is Villa Vauban’s permanent exhibition.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.