Artists Open House a Reason to Visit Forcalquier
The artists and artisans of Forcalquier open their doors for the ninth edition of Ateliers Ouverts from July 29th through August 1st, 2022.
Les Ateliers Ouverts
Truly a celebration of creativity, the event takes place throughout the town with street entertainment, outdoor photo displays and art shown in galleries, shop windows and artist’s studios. Visitors can consult a guided map or wander at their leisure, following painted markings on the streets to discover the workshops and galleries.
The Association Ateliers Forcalquier organises the festival. Its sixty-some members work in diverse mediums – clay, glass, wood, paper, paints, textiles, photography and more.
Open House History
A small group of artists created the association in 2014. Primarily located in the historic centre, rue Marius Debout, they decided to group their efforts, thus creating a dynamic community and giving visibility to their work. For decades, the creative arts (art, craft, music, theatre) have been integral to the Forcalquier scene.
The association is partly heir to the bohemian spirit of the ’60s when Lulu Henry – collector, gallery owner and artists’ friend lived in Forcalquier and exhibited Bernard Buffet, Daniel Spoerri and others. Raoul Dufy, who spent the last year of his life here, said, “Le paysage est très simple et grandiose à la fois.” (The countryside is simple as well as grandiose).
Forcalquier had the most celebrated photographer of his time – Henri Cartier-Bresson, living nearby and exhibiting many times. Still, the most iconic was in August 2001 at the Centre d’art Boris Bojnev. The following year in August 2002, David Hockney held his exhibition at the beautiful Couvent des Cordeliers followed by an exhibit of Raoul Dufy’s drawings in 2003 and then Henry Moore in 2006.
The diversity of talents and the singularity of the local artists and their creations make Forcalquier and the surrounding areas an exceptional and colourful place where a relaxed lifestyle and creativity are artfully wed.
After visiting the ateliers and meeting the artists and artisans, you can stop at cafés on the Place du Bourguet or Place Saint Michel. Forcalquier has an array of wonderful restaurants, ice cream spots, and even an organic chocolate shop. On Monday, the famous Forcalquier market will be in full swing. You’ll need more than a day if you also want to visit the cathedral, the citadel, the Couvent des Cordeliers, the museums and shops. Here you will sample la Haute Provence, portrayed in Jean Giono’s books and novels – an atmosphere that you can still feel and enjoy, which is a different experience from Aix, Marseille, and the plains, the valleys, the coastal beauties.
Once the seat of the powerful Counts of Forcalquier, the town is now home to 5,000 inhabitants. The city of Forcalquier is a vibrant community of Provence natives and is also home to people from over 50 different nationalities.
The raw beauty of the narrow streets, white stones of the surrounding villages, luminosity, intense blue skies, and rich and wild nature have always inspired artists and attracted them to this town nestled in the heart of the Alpes de Haute Provence.
Follow on Instagram @lesateliersforcalquier
About the Author
Jeanne Belanger de Sainte Marie is an artist, illustrator and author of children’s picture books. She loves to depict the magic of real-life or imaginary places, the changing seasons and the world of childhood.
Jeanne is Franco-American, born in the United States and hails from Michigan in the Great Lakes Region. After a career in automotive colour and fabric design in the US and Europe, she settled in France, thus completing the round-trip of her French-Canadian ancestors. She has a Fine Arts degree (BFA) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and also studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Her work has been exhibited and published on both sides of the Atlantic and showcased in the collections of Paris’ Bibliothèque Forney and the Mazza Museum, University of Findlay, Ohio.
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Image titles and credits are as indicated on the images.