Venet Foundation 2012 – Vue de la nouvelle galerie avec Diagonale de 74.3o, 2006, Acier peint, 15 mètres de haut © Jerome Cavalière, Marseille (1)

The Venet Foundation: an ode to minimalist, conceptual creation

One of the world’s most-shown contemporary artists, famed for his monumental sculptures, Bernar Venet created the Venet Foundation in Le Muy, near Saint-Tropez, in 2014, exhibiting works by Venet and fellow American avant-garde minimalist, conceptual artists in a timeless setting.

Bernar Venet

A monument of monumental art

New-Zealand, the United States, Château de Versailles… Bernar Venet‘s monumental sculptures have been blooming in urban spaces throughout the globe since the Eighties. His “Indeterminate Lines” – gigantic steel structures created from simple forms -, have reinvented sculpture and evolved to become his trademark and the signature of his XXL talent, as witnessed by his “Major Arch” sculpture erected at kilometre 99 of the E411 highway between Brussels and Luxembourg. Measuring 60 metres in height and 75 metres in diameter, it is the world’s largest steel sculpture.

A local-born child…

…Who conquered America

Bernar Venet was born in 1941 in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence area. Fascinated by black, he created canvasses coated in tar, together with black painted cardboard constructions. Part of the emerging conceptual art movement, in which the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work, he also drew inspiration from the scientific world and in particular maths. But Venet truly forged his artistic identity in the United States. He set up home in New York in 1966, on the advice of fellow visual artist Arman, who he had formerly been an assistant to in Nice. He went on to become friends with Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, and made a name for himself in the avant-garde minimalist and conceptual art movements.

The friend

And the collector

Over the years, thanks to his close ties with other great artists, Bernar Venet built up an incredible collection of minimalist and conceptual works, mostly by American artists, including creations by Donald Judd and Sol Lewitt, together with Dan Flavin, François Morellet, Arman, César, Frank Stella, Walter de Maria, Richard Serra, Larry Bell and more… All he needed was an ideal setting where he could exhibit this extraordinary ensemble alongside his own work.

The Venet Foundation

Art at its peak

In 1989, Bernar Venet and his wife Diane purchased a disused factory standing in vast grounds in Le Muy, in the Saint-Tropez hinterland. The property became both their home and workplace. Venet tasked himself with creating a perfect harmony between this natural environment and art, pushing back the limits imposed by traditional museums – an ambitious concept embodied in the chapel designed specially to showcase the works of Frank Stella. Open to the public since 2014, the Venet Foundation welcomes yearly exhibitions and offers visitors an immersive and ground-breaking artistic experience aptly echoing the works of its creator.