When in 2017, Jean-Noël Drouin began a collection of 20th century abstract paintings, his primary goal was to gather and preserve works from an era where  abstract, informal, and non-figurative art in a more general sense, was taking hold.

Roger Bissière, Michel Carrade, Maurice Estève, Robert Fontené, Oscar Gauthier, Jacques Germain, Madeleine Grenier, Simon Hantaï, Hans Hartung, Zoran Music, Georges Mathieu, Jean Miotte, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Gérard Schneider, Pierre Soulages, Raoul Ubac, Helena Vieira da Silva, Gérard Vulliamy..., all bear testimony to an inspiration of an European invention that, until the 1960s, impressed and influenced the world. The collection of the Musée du Niel has a double purpose : to devote itself solely to the medium of painting and to bring together artists of diverse notoriety, sometimes to be rediscovered or discovered, and who have all contributed to the renewal of contemporary art creation.

In 1945, Paris returned to peace and attracted international artists. The capital once again became an indispensable crossroads for art, open to the world. The demand of the artists was clear : to break with the established order that had only led to chaos, to flee from what the past and tradition had built in vain, to express individual freedom.

Musée du Niel - Block 02

© Madeleine Grenier, Peinture bleue, 1957, huile sur toile, 92 x 72 cm,
Collection musée du Niel

The remarkable diversity of their creations and experimentations has deliberately prevented them from being confined to one school or movement. For two decades, the artistic renewal, open to the most opposing currents, is incessant. Their only real common point: a strong desire for freedom of thought and creativity !

Musée du Niel - Block 04

© Maurice Estève, Toublu, 1973, huile sur toile, 76,5 x 65 cm
Collection musée du Niel, Les maîtres ainés

Musée du Niel - Block 03

© Hans Hartung, T1954-27, 1954, huile sur toile, 100 x 38 cm
Collection musée du Niel, Les maîtres ainés

The artists deliberately refuse figuration, a representative and narrative function of the work; the force of the artistic gesture and the light alone prevail. From Lyrical or geometric abstraction, via the CoBrA group, to Art informel and Art brut, and the militant theory of Supports-Surfaces, the collection looks at the diffusion of this artistic impulse without prejudice, not excluding a certain subjectivity.

Musée du Niel - Block 06

© Jean-Michel Atlan, Sans titre, 1958, détrempe d'huile sur carton, 80 x 121 cm
Collection musée du Niel, L’inclassable Atlan

Musée du Niel - Block 09

© Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Inondation en Hollande, 1951, huile sur toile, 55 x 68,5 cm
Collection musée du Niel, Une des rares femmes peintres de l’abstraction d’après-guerre.

Musée du Niel - Block 07

© Gérard Schneider, Opus 5 C, 1955, huile sur toile, 89 x 116 cm
Collection musée du Niel, Figure majeure de l’abstraction lyrique

Musée du Niel - Block 10

© Jean Dewasne, Incantation Malgache, 1961, glycerophtalique sur toile, 132 x 226 cm,
Collection musée du Niel