Strasbourg is likely among one of the most underrated cities in Europe. This major Alsatian city, over the centuries with one foot in French culture and with the other in German, has plenty to offer its visitors in charm, enjoyment of the good life and in sights. On this page we will focus on the art Strasbourg has on offer for its visitors..
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Strasbourg
While most of the cultural life in the city is concentrated around its architecture and historical sites, there is also the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The museum is regarded as one of the best of its kind in today’s France. While the museum’s permanent collection will likely grab most of the visitors’ attention, it also houses rotating temporary exhibitions.
Not surprisingly, most of the focus of the temporary collection is on the two big names of the local art history: Gustave Doré and Jean Hans Arp. The museum is in the possession of 369 works of Gustave Doré in form of paintings, graphic arts and sculptures. The Arp collection is made up of 53 works of sculptures, stained-glass windows and graphic arts.
The collection contains, however, much more. Among the most special pieces you are able to admire here, is the first cubist painting ever purchased by a public French collection: Georges Braque’s “Still Life” from 1911, acquired already in 1923.
There is also a great collection of works by Victor Brauner and Cesar Demola. Further there are unique pieces by Monet, Pissarro, Klee, Rodin Kandinsky and many-many more. Almost uniquely for France and anywhere outside Germany, there is a large collection by contemporary German painters. The collection of local Alsatian artists is equally important. There is also an important photography collection stretching from the origins of the art up until today, containing over a thousand objects.
The MAMCS Building:
Inaugurated in 1998, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is situated right on the left bank of the river Ill, just opposite Strasbourg’s famous neighbourhood of Petite France. The architect behind the building is the Parisian Adrien Fainsilber. The building was designed around clarity and open spaces, with a cathedral-like main glass covered centre walk. It measures 104 metres in length and 22 in altitude.
The museum is divided into an exhibition space, a permanent collection, and a space dedicated to photography and graphical arts. There are also rooms for educational services, a well-equipped library focused on art, an auditorium, and a bookstore. On the first floor there is a terrace overlooking the medieval bridge ‘Ponts Couvert‘ and the old town of ‘Petite France’.
Other museums in Strasbourg:
Much of the contemporary art scene in Strasbourg is focused on the MAMCS. However, there are some other museums worth visiting:
MUSÉE des Arts DÉcoratifs
Strasbourg’s museum of decorative arts is situated in Palais Rohan, designed by the royal architect Robert de Cotte in the 18th century. The museum is divided into two parts. One is representing the apartments of cardinal Rohan. The other offers a rich collection of decorative artifacts – such as world-famous Hannong ceramics, furnishings, sculpture and paintings, time-pieces, metalwork, silver and goldsmith’s art – dating from the sixteenth century to the mid-19th century, found in Strasbourg.
MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS (MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS)
Situated on the first floor of Palais Rohan, the Museum of Fine Arts presents a wide range of European classic paintings from famous artists such as Boticelli, Canalleto, El Greco, Rubens, Goya, Delacroix and many more, a collection stretching from the early renaissance up until the 1870s.
MUSÉE Alsacien (Alsatian MUSEUM)
If you are looking for a better understanding of Alsatian life, especially how it used to be in the past, there is a museum in Strasbourg dedicated to the depiction of rural Alsace. This character-filled museum consists of some thirty rooms, and every room represents a different region of Alsace.
Traditional furniture, everyday artifacts, toys, religious imagery and clothes offer you direct knowledge of Alsatian lifestyle from the seventh until the end of the nineteenth century.
Centre Tomi Ungerer
Strasbourg-born artist Tomi Ungerer (1931), known all over the world for his books for children, satirical drawings and advertising posters, donated a large part of his work to the city of Strasbourg. The creation of the Centre Tomi Ungerer is the main outcome.
The museum is located in one half of the former Villa Greiner, a spacious construction built in 1884, and spread over three floors. Today its ground floor is dedicated to Ungerer’s work as a children’s book illustrator, the first floor is dedicated to his work as a political caricaturist and satirical cartoonist. The basement – out of reach for children – is dedicated to his erotic and semi-pornographic drawings.
A part of Ungerer’s collection contains some 3,500 games and toys, which he gathered over forty years. This unique collection is composed of old and modern mechanical, optical and educational toys, little tin soldiers and automatons.
A contemporary collection from a master of illustrations well worth your time.
There are several different Museum Cards you can choose for visiting all the museums in Strasbourg. The passes are valid for all museums and all temporary exhibitions on show. It can be purchased or in the tourism office or directly at the museums.
- Yearly Pass Card for all the museums of the city
- Three-day Pass Card for all the museums
- One-day Pass Card for all the museums
Upper Rhine Museums Pass:
You also have the option to use the Upper Rhine Museums Pass, which covers 280 museums in the Upper Rhine Region of northern Switzerland, southwestern Germany and southeastern France. There are different versions of the pass, but the standard one-year pass for a year for one person costs 79 € and for two people 144 €. In both cases up to five children under 18 are allowed to join with the same pass. there is also a 48 hours version of the pass that costs 26 €. you can find more information about the pass here (2014 prices).