Ten years of the Soulages museum: “And tourists told us that Rodez was a beautiful city…”

Ten years of the Soulages museum: “And tourists told us that Rodez was a beautiful city…”
Ten years of the Soulages museum: “And tourists told us that Rodez was a beautiful city…”

Jean-Luc Fau was a painter and starred chef in Rodez when the Soulages museum, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this Thursday, May 30, 2024, opened its doors.

Three years before the Soulages museum opened its doors, in the kitchen of his Michelin-starred restaurant “Goûts et Couleur”, in rue de Bonald, the “painter cook” Jean-Luc Fau had created a dish: Pierre pan-fried squid Soulages. When Pierre Soulages came to his restaurant and saw this dish on the menu, he thought it was a joke. Then the plate, set up like an ultrablack, was served to him. “And he came back to eat it several times.”smiles Jean-Luc Fau.

Pan-fried squid Pierre Soulages

With his double hat as a merchant when the museum opened in 2014 and an art enthusiast that he has always been, the man who in 2002 was the city’s first starred chef takes a pertinent look at the evolution of the city linked to the creation of the Soulages museum. “On the restaurant side, the opening of the museum was for us the equivalent of obtaining the star. From the start, we saw the restaurant’s attendance increase by 20 to 30%. Then it was not only a novelty effect since it lasted”, explains the man who, with his wife Emmanuelle, kept the star until 2017 and the sale of his restaurant.

We knew that our restaurant corresponded to the museum’s audience.”, he slips further. Also very quickly, he perceived the change that this brought about in the city. “ All the developments that have been carried out on Avenue Victor-Hugo, linked to the Soulages project, have transformed the city. And tourists told us that Rodez was a beautiful city. My wife and I almost fell off the chair, we weren’t used to hearing that! And it’s true that the city is beautiful.”

“Lucky to have three museums in the city…”

The art enthusiast, a painter himself and a stakeholder in the Réplique gallery on rue de l’Embergue and the Galerie de la Cascade in Salles-la-Source, also heard the delight of these museum tourists. “ We were regularly told that we were lucky to have three museums in the city, with Fenaille and Denys-Puech. he slips. A museum presence which inevitably marks the city. “The openings and the various temporary exhibitions offer an undeniable cultural contribution. We might think that Ruthenians, when they are on vacation, will more easily discover the museums, because they have the Soulages reference. There has been very interesting educational work that has been carried out around abstraction, on the understanding of this art. comments Jean-Luc Fau.

A Jean-Luc Fau always inspired by Pierre Soulages. Particularly on the culinary level. Last summer again, as part of the Conques musical meetings, he concocted a menu, called “Besides tastes and colors”, including walnut shell, Instability of color and dark flesh… So many inspired dishes which he would undoubtedly have liked to propose to Pierre Soulages.

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