"La fabuleuse histoire des jouets de la préhistoire à nos jours"

The HDE Var exhibition, winter 2022, visible from December 2, 2022 to February 12, 2023, aroused great interest during the Christmas period. Anne Monier, art historian and curator of the modern and contemporary collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, responsible for the toy collection, curated the exhibition.

“At the start of the 21st century, toys are at a major historical turning point: as children's bedrooms seem about to overflow, children are increasingly turning away from their toys in favor of virtual pleasures. The excellent state of the video game, but also the toy market after the times of confinement could announce a future in which the real and the virtual coexist in a balanced way. So the time to deal with the history of toys is particularly good! “, specified the expert. During the 20th century, children and toys became real objects of study (in history, social sciences, psychology, etc.), notably through the creation of museums devoted to them (Museum of Childhood in London, Toy Museum in Nürnberg). , toy department of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris).

However, "even if the subject remains little discussed, a childhood story can be told through the prism of the toy, this 'talkative historian'", according to Léo Clarétie, one of the first historians to study the history of toys. , it denotes . The toy follows historical, social, political and economic developments while reflecting and describing the child's place in society. A cultural and universal phenomenon, the game is found everywhere and at all times, with its companion, the toy,” she explains. Thus, this fabulous story of toys is told to us by Anne Monier, a graduate of the elite ENS university and of the prestigious Sciences Po Paris Institute of Political Studies, holder of the 2010 research grant from the Academic Foundation of the Chamber of Berlin representatives. the exhibitions "The Play Chest (2015), Another Story! 50 Years of Creation at the Leisure School (2015), Barbie (2016), The Spirit of the Bauhaus (2016), The Funny Little Beasts of “Antoon Krings" (2016) at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. She is also the editor of several books such as L’esprit du Bauhaus (exhibition catalog, MAD, 2016), Barbie (exhibition catalog, MAD , 2016) or The Secret Garden of Funny Little Beasts (Gallimard Jeunesse, 2019).

"Momies, les Chemins de l'Eternité"

from 10th June to 25th September 2022

As symbols of eternal life and sources of reverence for millennia in many parts of the world, mummies have always been fascinating for the general public but also for the science community, demonstrating their universal character. Key sources of great historical, scientific and anthropological value, they have become objects of study dedicated to knowledge of the living. Thanks to the support of the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, as well as several other major French and foreign museums and collectors, the exhibition devoted to these mummies promises to be a first.

Through a multi-disciplinary approach and in a spirit of education and popularisation, this exhibition aims to uncover the various representations of mummies, their uses, and how they are useful to the living. “Thanks to the exhibition design created within a strictly ethical framework and the objects placed in their respective cultural context, visitors will discover an exceptional collection of very different human and animal mummies from Europe and distant continents (Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania, etc.), “relics” of famous historical figures, a great number of objects associated with mummification techniques, funerary practices, unexpected uses in the medical or artistic field, iconographic documents, photographs and works of a scientific nature, etc. An embalming table, designed to illustrate the art of embalming, will also be reconstructed,” explains Philippe Charlier, exhibition curator and head of research and teaching at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris. A French medical examiner, pathologist, archaeo-anthropologist and paleopathologist. An expert who has also carried out numerous works on ancient human remains and mummies.

Finally, by offering various works and film extracts to a thrill-seeking public, the exhibition will provide a powerful evocation of the mummy, a source of inspiration for horror literature from the 19th century and then for film culture in the 20th century. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events and conferences allowing everyone to approach the subject in the most accessible way.



"La table, un art français - Du XVIIe siècle à nos jours"

17th December 2021 – 6th March 2022

This exhibition invites visitors – contemporary "diners” – to explore changes in French table customs over four centuries, to understand their codes, rituals and innovations. Pierre Provoyeur, General Heritage Curator and former Deputy Director of the French Museums Policy, and Chantal Meslin Perrier, General Heritage Curator and former Director of the Limoges Musée National Adrien Dubouché, will curate and design this exhibition and write the catalogue.

They provide an overview of the French table: "It begins around 1770, when the dining room was created, that is to say a room devoted to meals, and where " French-style service" developed. It continues throughout the 19tb century until the Second World War, when industrial progress, the appearance of the "Russian-style service" and the development of restaurants changes the uses of French tables. Then from the 1950s onwards, as eating at the table is starting to disappear, the table becomes a place for artistic creation.” For an instructive and entertaining visit, this exhibition will link together inventions, agricultural discoveries, technical progress and the evolution of social codes. "A large diversity of objects, materials, iconographic representations and works of art will punctuate the exhibition design with nearly 600 works, mostly from the rich collections of various museums of Fine Arts and French Decorative Arts to name but a few, or even from private individuals such as Christofle, Bizot, David-Weill, Jund, Galerie Jacques Bailly,” they explain.

Objects reserved for a specific use or decorative elements, will all reflect dining customs and the atmosphere of the meal specific to each period portrayed. “This is how everyday objects, products from famous manufacturers such as Christofle, Sèvres and Limoges, and objects created by contemporary artists like Jean Dufy, Jean Luce, René Lalique, Louis Sue and André Mare, Arman, Anne and Patrick Poirier will all come together,” they say. The exhibition will also be enriched with the reconstruction of a goldsmith's dresser, tables from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries such as the spectacular First Class dining room table on board the liner “Normandie”, and film extracts showing the way in which the cinema looks at the meal through various settings.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events and conferences, providing everyone with an opportunity to approach the subject in the most accessible way.

ULYSSE, voyage dans une Méditerranée de légendes

From 23rd April to 22nd August 2021

A first original exhibition The HDE Var presents Ulysse, Voyage dans une Méditerranée de Légendes, an exhibition that aims to highlight this character’s influence on western culture and the history of the arts. Odysseus and the story of his return from Troy has long been an example of the qualities expected from an accomplished man, and an example of a real adventure. Every historical period, from ancient Greece to the present day, has increasingly resonated with the concerns in the Odyssey and its main character: a model human depicted for young people in classical Greece, a founding narrative for a large part of modern western civilization – right up to the contemporary suffering of refugees.

The exhibition has been organised around eleven sections, ten of which each portray a topic deeply rooted in the Homeric epic and linked to a character from the story. This means that visitors can follow both the chronological (through songs) and symbolic (through characters featuring in each stage of Odysseus’ journey) structure of the story. The aim of the exhibition is therefore to follow the events in chronological order, from Odysseus’ departure for the Trojan War, right up to his return to Ithaca, ten years later.

Follow the Guide

The exhibition will take place in 650m², over the three levels of HDE Var. It will be designed like a journey in Odysseus’ footsteps around the Mediterranean. The exhibition therefore focuses on the main character and on what happened during his journey.

The exhibition features sculptures, ceramics, objets d’art, drawings, photographs, paintings, films and installations. Film, music and video interpretations of the hero's adventures are also presented, offering visitors the chance to link these more contemporary works with the Homeric epic. This means that younger visitors for example, can relate to the issues raised by the hero’s adventures much more easily. By presenting Classical, Renaissance and contemporary works, from international collections or produced especially for HDE Var, depicting and evoking the multiple episodes of the epic of Odysseus, the exhibition journey will show how the styles and forms used by artists throughout history are constructed.

Commission and Organisation

Exhibition curator: Milan Garcin, , art historian

Archaeological advisor: Yvon Lemoine, archaeologist, in charge of La Celle Abbey

Exhibition production: Department of Var (HDE Var)