A Pioneering Vision: The Sensational Female Art Museum of Mougins (FAMM)

In the picturesque village of Mougins, nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the rolling hills of southern France, a revolutionary museum is taking shape. The Female Art Museum of Mougins (FAMM) is set to open its doors on June 21st, 2023, dedicated to showcasing the remarkable achievements of women artists throughout history – a pioneering endeavor that seeks to rectify a longstanding imbalance in the art world.

Housed within the medieval walls of a historic building in the heart of Mougins, a destination beloved by artistic luminaries like Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Coco Chanel, FAMM represents the vision of art collector and philanthropist Christian Levett. His passion for art and history led him to establish the Museum of Classical Art in Mougins in 2011, renowned for its unique juxtaposition of ancient artifacts and modern art.

However, as Levett's collection grew richer and more diverse, he became captivated by the museum-quality works created by women artists across eras and movements. "Having collected art for a quarter of a century, my tastes have evolved, so I think it's time for the museum to evolve too," Levett declares. "I am looking forward to opening our new museum FAMM, which I am certain will quickly become a must-visit destination for art lovers, students, researchers, and curators alike."

Historically, female artists have been largely underrepresented in museums and seldom mentioned in specialist publications, despite their notable contributions to the art world. FAMM aims to address this longstanding oversight by providing a dedicated space to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women in the visual arts.

The Levett Collection, which now features an impressive array of over 500 works by female artists, serves as the foundation for FAMM's ambitious mission. Through regular rotations, the museum will unveil a hidden narrative – a rich tapestry of creativity and expression woven by generations of talented women who have often been overlooked or overshadowed by their male counterparts.

FAMM's permanent exhibition takes visitors on a chronological voyage from the late 19th century to the present day, unveiling the incredible diversity and depth of women's contributions to the art world. The journey begins with the Impressionist movement, highlighting the work of Berthe Morisot, one of its founders, alongside Eva Gonzalès and Mary Cassatt.

Post-Impressionism follows, represented by Jacqueline Marval's oil on canvas "Le fils du roi" (1906), while daily life and landscapes give way to the fantastical shapes of Surrealism, with notable contributions like Leonor Fini's "Les étrangères" (1968) and Leonora Carrington's "Mid- Day of the Canary" (1967).

The first floor is dedicated to abstraction, featuring iconic pieces from the major post-war American movement, Abstract Expressionism. Visitors will marvel at Lee Krasner's "Prophecy" (1956), Elaine de Kooning's "Abstraction #3" (1959), and Joan Mitchell's "Rufus' Rock" (1966), inspired by her stays on the French Riviera.

Upstairs, the second floor showcases figurative art, with styles as expressive as they are diverse. Louise Bourgeois' sculpture "Nature Study" (2007), Alice Neel's painting "Jackie Curtis as a Boy" (1972), and Marina Abramović's photograph "Carrying the Skeleton" (2008) add a psychological dimension to the representation of the body.

The visit culminates with an eclectic exhibition of 21st-century artworks by contemporary female artists carrying forward the legacies of their predecessors. Highlights include Sarah Lucas' sculpture "Tit-Cat Down" (2012), Tracey Emin's oil on canvas "Hurricane" (2007), previously in the George Michael collection, and Jenny Saville's work on paper "Generation" (2012-2014).

FAMM joins a growing movement to address the underrepresentation of women in art institutions and historical narratives, alongside institutions like the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. and the Frauenmuseum in Bonn, Germany.

"It is important to highlight that the number of temporary exhibitions dedicated to these 'forgotten' artists has rapidly increased in recent years in major museums worldwide," the museum's statement reads, citing examples like the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Denver Art Museum, and the Royal Academy of London.

In addition to exhibitions, numerous research projects, publications, conferences, podcasts like Katy Hessel's "The Great Women Artists," and organizations like AWARE have greatly contributed to disseminating these studies and creating a more inclusive and diverse artistic landscape.

The driving force behind FAMM is Christian Levett himself, an art collector for nearly 30 years and recognized for his philanthropic commitments in the arts and other causes. Since March 2021, he has organized private tours of his Florence palazzo, entirely decorated with works by women, for groups of museum patrons, academics, and collectors.

Levett has curated exhibitions and, in 2023, published the book "Abstract Expressionists: The Women," giving a history of the often-overlooked women artists of this period, backed by his collection. The reopening of the Mougins Museum as FAMM enhances his advocacy for women in the arts.

Among the great names in art history, FAMM will exhibit works by Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Blanche Hoschedé-Monet, Louise Nevelson, Barbara Hepworth, Frida Kahlo, Leonor Fini, Lee Krasner, Maria Helena Vieira Da Silva, Dorothea Tanning, Louise Bourgeois, Leonora Carrington, Elaine de Kooning, Lalan (Xie Jinglan), Joan Mitchell, Alma Thomas, Helen Frankenthaler, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Howardena Pindell, Marina Abramović, Marlene Dumas, Nan Goldin, Carrie Mae Weems, Sarah Lucas, Shirin Neshat, Tracey Emin, Cecily Brown, Jenny Saville, Alice Neel, and Elizabeth Colomba, as well as numerous works by top emerging female artists.

A Destination for Artistic Discovery

FAMM promises to be a truly exceptional museum experience in the south of France, offering visitors an unprecedented opportunity to discover and appreciate the remarkable achievements of women artists throughout history.

As Helen Frankenthaler once said, "I am a painter, I am a woman... Gender contributes no more to the value of a piece than any other adjective you might place before the word painter— whether it's about color, religion, wealth, or culture." With FAMM, the focus is solely on the artistic brilliance and vision, transcending gender barriers and celebrating the diverse voices and perspectives that have shaped the art world.

For art lovers, students, researchers, curators, and anyone with an appreciation for artistic excellence, FAMM is poised to become an essential destination – a beacon illuminating the often-overlooked contributions of women artists and inviting the world to embark on an extraordinary voyage of artistic discovery.

In the charming village of Mougins, where the echoes of artistic giants like Picasso and Chanel still resonate, a new chapter is unfolding. FAMM stands as a testament to the enduring power of art, a place where the brushstrokes, sculptures, and visions of women artists across generations can finally take center stage, inspiring and enlightening all who visit this pioneering institution.

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