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Exhibitions

Charles Lair et le Château de Saumur

The centenary of an outstanding collection

Event date : from Saturday, 22 October 2022 until Saturday, 31 December 2022

The Château-Musée de Saumur is celebrating the centenary of an outstanding collection with a tribute to the generous donor behind it, Count Charles Lair.

October 1922: the public of Saumur discovered the exceptional collection of Count Charles Lair, presented in the east wing of the château, renovated for the occasion. In 2022 an exhibition celebrates this centenary by paying tribute to the great donor whose collection has transformed the Château-Musée.

Charles Lair was born in 1841 in Saumur and died in 1919 in Angers. He collected art throughout his life that he spent at his Château de Blou near Saumur, his mansion in Paris and countless trips all over Europe and around the Mediterranean.

His confident and eclectic taste led him to ceramics, furniture, objets d'art, textiles and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 18th century alongside a few rarities and bookplates. The passionate scholar, man of God and relentless antique hunter's collection was down to more than just wealth; he was a true connoisseur.

He wanted to keep his entire collection of almost 2500 pieces and 7000 bookplates together and left it to Château de Saumur which the local museum had recently relocated to. Upon Charles Lair's death on October 13th 1919, it took two years to restore the château's east wing and move the pieces in: the collection finally went on public display on November 28th 1922.

The quality and quantity of the bequest changed the museum's profile from covering every base to honing in on decorative arts. It also furnished and decorated the château as if it had always been a royal residence.

As part of the permanent visitor experience in the first floor galleries, this exhibition explores the history of the collection, introduces lesser-known sides to it and celebrates Charles Lair, whose generosity helped make the Château-Musée what it is today.


La fabrique à cheval

Forging equine excellence

© Christophe Gagneux

Horse paraphernalia and technological artefacts. Horse paraphernalia and technological artefacts.Through three pieces of horse tack from Neolithic times tothe 19th century, the exhibition highlights the technologicaladvances which contributed to the horse’s rise in status,mapping its elevation from the position of simple workanimal to one of influence in the evolution of society.


Lumière au bout du tunnel

The light at the end of the tunnel

Photo ©Jérémie Lusseau

An underground exhibition. Amandine PeyresoubesAn underground exhibition. Amandine Peyresoubesand Maël Pinard have created a fun and interactiveexhibition to take you on an imaginary journey throughthe legends and underground spaces of the Chateau.


Regards croisés sur la nature

Magali Lambert: different perspectives on nature - Past exhibition

Event date : from Saturday, 12 June 2021 until Sunday, 12 December 2021

photo © Château-Musée de Saumur

Artist Magali Lambert has explored the Museum's collections and brought nature to life, placing taxidermied animals among words of art and giving them new life. With poetry and a sense of fun, the artist plays with our perception, transforming the animals into museum visitors breaking free of the contemporary diorams they are looking at.


Regards croisés sur la guerre

Émeric Lhuisset: a contemporary look at the collections - Past exhibition

Event date : from Friday, 10 July 2020 until Sunday, 01 November 2020

Émeric Lhuisset, autoportrait © Émeric Lhuisset

Born in 1983, Émeric Lhuisset gets an artistic and geopolitical reflection on representations of war at the heart ot current armed conflicts. the artist will compare the museum's collections with his own creations, which has been already shown at the Tate Modern in London, at the Arab World institute in Paris, at the Louvre in Lens or at the Rencontres d'Arles.