Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Les Arques — art colony in the heart of Quercy

The tiny village of Les Arques has been a haven to artists since 1988. Each year, several visual artists are invited to live here and create art, which is then exhibited throughout the summer.

View through a wall in Les Arques

The heart of the village belongs to sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967), and a museum dedicated to him is located at the top of the road that runs through town. Five of Zadkine’s sculptures can be seen in and around Église Saint-Laurent, opposite Museé Zadkine. The church itself is a simple and lovely Romanesque building dating from the 12th century.

Sculpture by Ossip Zadkine in Les Arques

Église Saint-Laurent (Saint Lawrence Church) in Les Arques

Sculpture by Ossip Zadkine in Église Saint-Laurent in Les Arques

Zadkine was born in Byelorussia and spent most of his life in France. He settled in Les Arques in 1934, where he created his most significant works. Many of his stone, bronze and terracotta sculptures are on display here at the Museé Zadkine as well as at the museum that bears his name in Paris. The Les Arques museum also features oil paintings and lithographs by Zadkine’s wife, artist Valentine Prax (1897-1981).

Museé Zadkine is open every day except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-7 p.m. April 1 to Oct. 31; from 2-6 p.m. Nov. 1 to March 31; closed in January. Call or visit musees.lot.fr for more information

Home for artists-in-residence in Les Arques

In addition to the guest artists-in-residence program, the village offers houses and workshops to artists, writers and musicians for a nominal cost from July to November, thanks to the patronage of the association Les Ateliers Arques, the Ministry of Culture/DRAC Midi-Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées region, the department of Lot and the Community of Communes Salviac Cazals. 

Pretty house in Les Arques
The summer exhibition begins with a reception on June 8, 2016. Tours and workshops are available for free or for a nominal fee. For information, call Clémence Laporte at or visit ateliersdesarques.com.

Une porte bleue in Les Arques

Les Arques is located in the Lot Department, 23 km from Cahors, the traditional capital of Quercy. A small nature workshop is housed in one of the ancient buildings. The village has what I am told is an excellent restaurant, La Recreation, but no other services to speak of. Nearby are the villages of Puy l’Eveque and Villefranche-du-Périgord where visitors can find a variety of places to eat.

Nature workshop in Les Arques

Un joli chat rests on a wall in Les Arques.

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