A Story of Art

Works from the Yvon Lambert Donation

25 March – 4 June 2023

The exhibition remains partially open to the public until June 30.

In my opinion, the interesting things happen when you’re not thinking about the future, independently of any historical calculation.

Yvon Lambert 

On the occasion of the publication of the book A Story of Art: Yvon Lambert, a collection, a donation, a venue, published by the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap), the Collection Lambert and Éditions Dilecta, the Avignon-based institution is exhibiting a selection of more than 250 artworks from the unique collection comprising nearly 600 works donated by Yvon Lambert to the French State in 2012 and preserved by the Cnap. For the first time in the history of the Collection Lambert, the presentation of these iconic works occupies the two 18th-century mansions brought together in 2015.

The testimony of an art dealer in love with the art of his time

Echoing the book from which the exhibition borrows its title, the tour paints a portrait of the art of the past sixty years through the tastes and passions of a visionary who, since the opening of his first Parisian gallery in 1965, has been steadily fighting academicism.
This “succession of emotions” the collection embodies results from the life choices made by one of the greatest art dealers of the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st. It is the fruit of the life of a passionate and daring art lover, attentive to the historical upheavals of his time.

Yvon Lambert understood by the 1960s that the capital of art was no longer the pre-war Paris, but the New York of the United States enjoying a booming economy. He then embarked on the path of the new avant-gardes and pioneered the defence of minimal art, conceptual art, and land art. As of the 1980s, he turned to the new figurative and expressive painting then emerging, and then to photography, the moving image or installation art.

While providing a comprehensive overview of the movements and gestures that have inspired Yvon Lambert’s career, the exhibition offers a tour that goes against the grain, starting in the first rooms with the most recent works, then going backwards through time to end with the new avant-gardes. This astonishing journey through time shows the permanence of the collector’s visionary eye and proves the current relevance of these movements that have transformed art and still influence contemporary practices.

Exhibition curator: Stéphane Ibars
In collaboration with the Centre national des arts plastiques