Yesterday I went to the beautiful Abbaye de Beaulieu. Formerly a Cistercian abbey, it is now a space for contemporary art.  

Built in 1275, this abbey is a fine example of Cistercian architecture. The Cistercian order was founded in 1098 by Robert de Molesmes, who eschewed ostentation and advocated asceticism. Their churches reflected that philosophy: simple architecture with little ornamentation. 

Turns out that monochromatic minimalism suits wells the purpose of displaying art. The light coming through the clear (not stained) glass windows bounces and diffuses against the architectural features of the abbey. I could really appreciate the craftsman ship of stone.

The abbey was sold and turned into a farm in 1791, and then used as a stable. After being declared a monument in 1875, it took 100 years for restoration to take place. It now houses contemporary exhibitions and collections. 

The monks’ old dormitory is now an exhibition space as well. The simple hall didn’t possess the grandeur of the church but I really enjoyed the art exhibited here. Multiple artists made work in response to exquisite graphite drawings by French artist Fred Deux.  His work had surrealist and biomorphic forms that reminded me of Dorothea Tanning and Ives Tanguy. 

The drawing Les Portements (top) made me think of both figures in a frieze and a top down view of tree roots. The drawn frames emphasized the universe within the drawing, yet it also expanded within that frame to an all-over-composition like a Pollock.  I could look at that drawing all day.

Now to take that inspiration back to the studio.