After nine years of closure, the International Museum of Naive Art (Midan) in Vicq, in Yvelines, has been welcoming visitors again since October 7. The museum, which houses a collection of 1,500 works by artists from around the world, has benefited from a complete renovation thanks to a bequest from the former owner of the building and the support of local authorities.
Midan was founded in 1973 in an old farmhouse by Max Fourny (1904-1991), a former racing driver, publisher and collector of naive art. This non-academic pictorial style, which is distinguished by its lack of respect for the rules of perspective and proportion, was popularized by artists such as Douanier Rousseau (1844-1910), Séraphine de Senlis (1864-1942) or Camille Bombois (1883-1970). In 2001, the management of the museum was entrusted to an association, which was placed under judicial liquidation in 2014, leading to the closure of the museum.
It was thanks to the donation from the artist Françoise Adnet (1924-2014), wife of Max Fourny, who designated the town as universal legatee, that the renovation was able to take place. The town hall accepted the legacy in 2016. “She owned an apartment in Paris which we sold”, thus making it possible to finance part of the renovation work on the building, says Bernard Jacq, the mayor of Vicq. The rest of the budget, totaling 1.5 million euros, was supplemented by subsidies from the State, the Île de France Region, the Cœur d’Yvelines community of communes and the Department, up to of 272,000 euros.
The museum, which offers 900 m² of exhibition space, has been completely restored and modernized. Large bay windows were installed to bring maximum natural light into the exhibition rooms. The reception has been enlarged and equipped with a tea room, while an elevator has been added to facilitate access for people with reduced mobility.
To operate the museum, the town of Vicq recruited a manager and a librarian. The rest of the staff are volunteers, at least during the restart period. Guided tours will begin in November 2023 and will be entrusted to a service provider. In order to reduce energy costs, the municipality had 20 wells dug 150 meters deep, allowing the building to be heated by geothermal energy.
The collection, comprising nearly 1,500 sculptures and naive paintings, will be presented in the form of thematic exhibitions which will change every quarter. The first exhibition, on the theme of travel, presents 80 works by around fifty naïve artists from the four corners of the world. It is organized into four sections: the departure, the magical universes, the soulscapes and Noah’s ark.
The museum is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sunday afternoons, with an entrance fee ranging from €3 to €6.50. It is reserved for schoolchildren and group visitors on Thursdays and Fridays. The museum hopes to attract around 12,000 visitors per year, 20 to 25% more than before its closure.