Did you say "sculpture"?
In the 1950s, Arles was a small, provincial town, much scarred by the war. It was thanks to the commitment of curators in championing contemporary art that the museum succeeding in drawing itself to the attention of artists. Alfred Latour invited the sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) in 1953 : during his stay, the artist fell in love with the museum and its stretch of the Rhone, giving rise to two major acquisitions, Odalisque (1932) and Torse de femme (1935). In 1964, the organisation of a large exhibition devoted to the sculptor Germaine Richier (1904-1959), who had very close ties with Arles, was followed three years later by the acquisition of an emblematic work, Le Griffu(1953), which significantly raised the profile of sculpture as a theme within the museum's collections. That, in turn, led to the one-man exhibitions of the 1970s, devoted to César and Arman.
In 1980, the idea was put forward of having a collection of sculpture created on site, within the fabulous space of the Romanesque rooms of the Cloître St Trophime, taking Arles' monumental architecture and heritage as its common theme: the names of Toni Grand, Bernard Pagès, Bernard Dejonghe, Curt asker, Marcel Robelin, Keiji Uematsu and Hélène Agoffroy soon featured on the collection's inventory.
As well as the monumental, the museum also sets out to explore the intimate. In the case of Christine Crozat, Jean-Charles Blais or Françoise Vergier, that of the body and the landscape, a foil to the spatial explorations of Vincent Barré and Vladimir Skoda.