Three threads run through any reading of the Réattu Museum's contemporary "pictorial" collection: the bond with Arles and its heritage, the notion of mixing genres, and the question of drawing. The latter, appearing via Réattu and Picasso, is an essential guiding theme.
The sculpture collection has become part of the fabric of Arles' heritage. Conversely, that heritage has fed the artistic imagination which, from Réattu to Van Gogh, Zadkine to Picasso, has picked up on what went before and thrived in this environment. When Max Charvolen made a cast of the Grand Prieuré's mediaeval well, he did so with a nod at the pink that appears in the Picasso's Portrait de Lee Miller
- which in turn referred to the Van Gogh's off-yellow. In similar fashion, the absence/presence of Van Gogh presides over Albert Ayme's sumptuous Triple suite en jaune
. Still in Arles, it was here that Alechinsky created his first block prints of manholes (Soleil tournant
). This gave rise to an emblematic series, the results of his exploration, on all fours - at dog-height, as he put it - of towns such as Liège, New York, Beijing and La Rochelle. His meeting with Gironella introduced him to the theme of bullfighting, leading to the Al Alimon
series, in which the Arles Amphitheatre occupies an important place. Today, the museum has 14 of the artist's works, all closely linked with the city (13 of them the artist's donations) and which occupy the threshold between painting, drawing and caligraphy. The porosity of techniques and the question of drawing fascinate the museum. Albert Ayme's Reliefs soustractifs
- an inscription of pictorial time within a painted space - stem simultaneously from painting and sculpture. The same is true of the work of Michel Duport, who sums up with the words, "the painting, the place of [the act of] painting, is a shape like any other
", or Pierre Buraglio, who defines himself as a "painter without a paintbrush."
Sculpted drawing or drawn sculpture, drawing in all its forms and all materials, drawings by painters, drawings by sculptors such as Marino Marini, Marcel Robelin or Carmen Perrin... all take their place in a story of a collection that continues to evolve and grow.