The story of the house Moly-Sabata in the Musée de l’Ancien-Évêché

FOCUS – The Musée de l’Ancien-Évêché in Grenoble will host the exhibition Living Cubism in Moly-Sabata from May 25 to October 9, 2022. An evocation of the community of artists who, from 1927, lived in this strange house on the banks of the Rhone in the town of Sablons… and whose spirit still lives on.

I fell in love with Moly-Sabata in 2003, and since then I’ve said to myself, “Can’t, no exhibition in our museums?† Sylvie Vincent, director of the Musée de l’Ancien‑Érevered, does not hide it: she had the project to remember the memory of the community of artists founded in 1927 in Moly-Sabata, as soon as she took office. It’s over with Living Cubism in Moly-Sabata, from May 25 to October 9, 2022.

The house Moly-Sabata, on the banks of the Rhone (Isère side), in the Sablons. © Denis Vinçon

Moly Sabata? A house located on the banks of the Rhone, in the town of Sablons. It is here that the Cubist painter Albert Gleizes settled after experiencing Parisian life and visiting the great names of the time, from Picabia to Jean Cocteau. Back at his childhood home in Serrières (Ardèche), all he had to do was cross the river to acquire this charming house with remarkable architecture.

An artistic… and political community?

Albert Gleizes’ goal? Create a community of artists, such as he experienced between 1906 and 1908 with the Abbaye de Créteil, ” fraternal association of artists “. The first resident, except, of course, Albert Gleizes himself, as well as his wife Juliette Roche: Robert Pouyaud, a 25-year-old painter. Many more will follow, until the 1950s… and beyond.

The community wants to be both artistic and political. Steeped in anti-capitalism, Albert Gleizes strives for a form of autonomy, including food, and wants to (successfully) register his project in the life of the village that welcomes him, as close as possible to its inhabitants. Life itself on Moly-Sabata is governed by strict rules. The men are responsible for the handicrafts… and the women take care of the cooking and cleaning.

The 80s get difficult for Moly-Sabata: in 1980 Juliette Roche dies, more than 20 years after her husband. In 1983 a fire partially destroyed the house. The Albert-Gleizes Foundation will then see the light of day to enable its reconstruction and create an artist’s residence. In 2010 a permanent program of artist residencies started. In twelve years, the “new” Moly-Sabata has welcomed more than 150 artists.

Cubism by Albert Gleizes, ceramics by Anne Dangar

It is this tumultuous journey that describes the exhibition at the Musée de l’Ancien-Évêché. Starting with a room devoted (almost) entirely to the cubist works of Albert Gleizes, who contributed much to the development of this artistic movement, which heralded modern art. On this occasion, the museum is pleased to have received loans from illustrious institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Center Pompidou in Paris.

Sylvie Vincent opposite the cubist works of Albert Gleizes.  © Florent Mathieu - Place Gre'net

Sylvie Vincent opposite the cubist works of Albert Gleizes. © Florent Mathieu – Place Gre’net

But the exhibition also gives voice to another famous artist, the Australian artist Anne Dangar, who joined Moly-Sabata in 1930… never to leave until her death in 1951. Miss Dangar », as the villagers call it, will make many ornamental ceramics, inspired by all cultures and all eras. Ceramics that many families still own (and use today).

Other residents are of course revered. But the main subject of the exhibition dedicated to Moly-Sabata is… Moly-Sabata itself. A human and artistic adventure like no other. To wonder if the house and community of Moly-Sabata, in addition to Cubism, which was the “pretext”, was not its own flow. Similar to that of the border river she runs along, which has always knocked her out of time.

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