Consisting of 600 international and multidisciplinary art works, the foundation is a private, non-profit organisation that supports contemporary art through the Francès Collection.
The foundation was founded in 2009 by Estelle and Hervé Francès and was initially conceived as a testing ground for discussion around nearly 250 artworks. Ten years on, the approach of The Francès Foundation is to focus on one artist per year, which saw Claire Morgan in 2017 and Mircea Cantor in 2016. In the position of curator, Estelle Francès also creates a dialogue with a selection of works based on a theme, which last year (2018) illustrated the collections art history program. Works were presented which had never been exposed in the Foundation during the past ten years. These approaches to showcasing contemporary art foster new links and sometimes bring artists together with previously unexpected shared tastes and visions. This concept of a specific dialogue in an exhibition format aims to trigger thought and refresh emotions.
On its French territory, located in Senlis, The Francès Foundation is devoted to a democratic access to contemporary art and builds partnerships with regional public and private institutions. Raising public awareness is also aligned with this and has been an objective since the Foundation’s birth. Being guided through with a tour, a unique participative approach and personal exchange occurs with each new visitor. Stories are told, questions can be asked and conversations unfold. This is a means of having the exhibition live well beyond its walls, build on existing knowledge and stimulate new cultural discoveries.
After its first five years of existence, The Foundation shifted towards its engagement on an international level, and initiated a specific program in Senlis to do so. This birthed the idea to invite an artist of the collection each year for a solo-show and to develop them with a specific 12 month program. The current ‘artist in residence’, so to speak, is politically engaged Algerian-French artist Kader Attia.