The Museum of Printing on Fabrics in Mulhouse loses part of its collection

“These are objects that we hoped to exhibit at the museum…”, regrets Roland Onimus. The president of the Museum of Printing on Fabrics of Mulhouse (MISE) must however resign himself and give up on 785 pieces kept in his reserves. On deposit since 1976, the artefacts belong to the Société Industrielle de Mulhouse (SIM), an association promoting the development of local industry (today it brings together 200 entrepreneurs from southern Alsace). At the origin of the creation of MISE, she entrusted it with various tools, machines, samples and documents related to the local textile industry from the 19th century.

It is part of these 1,400 pieces, according to figures from the management of MISE, which were recovered by the SIM last spring. Among them, many textile samples given by the families of Mulhouse industrialists, but also two Gallé vases (which are not those stolen and then found at Sotheby’s, still under seal as part of the ongoing investigation). “Legally, I can’t do anything: the objects belong to them and were only on deposit in our reserves”laments Roland Onimus.

These parts, currently being assessed, should be put on sale at Drouot soon. The SIM indicates, through its president Luc Gaillet, “consider sales to continue to stimulate and support useful collective projects in southern Alsace, while maintaining [son] independence “. On the side of MISE, management recognizes that the subject is “prickly”and guess a SIM “financially on the brink” so that she has to sell her family jewels. In full verification, and while the establishment is preparing to change its status after difficult years, during which it suffered the looting of its reserves, the death of its director and the health crisis, this restitution is a new blow. .

Regarding the pieces belonging to the SIM exhibited in the rooms of the museum, “They assured us that they would not touch it”, assures Roland Onimus. In the midst of a transitional period and while the museum team is fighting to save the institution, the operation is still quite unwelcome, and raises questions locally. The SIM will nevertheless remain a partner of MISE in the future, since part of its collections will remain on deposit in the museum’s reserves. The inauguration of the exhibition dedicated to the construction site of the collections is scheduled for Heritage Days, on September 16, amputated, therefore, by several pieces.

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