Linked to the department of Gers by a loan of 350 works from his collection, Michaël Simonow was decorated yesterday by Philippe Martin with the insignia of knights of arts and letters, on behalf of the French government. In addition to a renewal of the loan agreement for five years, the English collector also signed a new endowment of works by Ken Paine, bringing to 100 the number of paintings offered to the Departmental Conservation of Heritage and Museums of Gers / Abbey of Flaran.
Chance often does things well. The one who brought Patrice Rabaute to evoke the abbey of Flaran to his friend Michaël Simonow is one of the happiest. While Michaël Simonow seeks to share the works of his collection with the general public, the Toulousain informs him that the department of Gers has renovated the abbey of Flaran, located in Valence-sur-Baïse, to make it its departmental conservatory, offering a magnificent exhibition setting.
From this conversation was born, there are more than fifteen now, a fruitful partnership between the English collector and the department of Gers. A bond, a friendship between Michaël Simonow and Philippe Martin, and a trust in Michel Hue, the departmental curator, which offer a very large audience the pleasure of appreciating the works of major artists, all year round in the dormitory. monks from Flaran Abbey.
Thousands of visitors peruse the gallery each year, through thematic exhibitions which in turn highlight the 350 or so works in the Simonow collection. To this loan is added the endowment of paintings by Ken Paine, one hundred works by the portrait painter of whom Michaël Simonow was a friend, which leads the department to hold the largest collection in the world of this artist, who died in 2020, who had the opportunity to appreciate in situ the setting that constitutes the abbey for its pastels.
A renewed loan
Yesterday afternoon, Michaël Simonow was able to appreciate once again the enhancement of his works and, above all, this pleasure of appreciating sculptures by Dali, a painting by Corot or Rosa Happiness, in the eyes of visitors. This generosity of the collector was greeted by his decoration, on behalf of the French government and the Minister of Culture, of the insignia of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, by Philippe Martin, president of the departmental council.
A solemn but also friendly time, marked by confidence, which also saw the loan agreement of the Simonow collection for another five years. To the 700,000 visitors who have already visited the monks’ dormitory, many other art lovers will be able to add their touched discovery of the treasures in the collection.