In the 1990s, Édouard Leclerc and his wife Hélène decided to create a space dedicated to contemporary art, using the site on which the first Leclerc hypermarket was established in Landerneau, adjacent to a former 17th century Capuchin convent. In 2011, the Leclerc Foundation was created and inaugurated in 2012. It is chaired by their son, Michel-Édouard Leclerc, also CEO of E.Leclerc, the supermarket chain.
The Capuchin convent is a listed building and any serious alterations to other buildings on the site were not allowed. As a result of this, the Leclercs decided to increase their space in Landerneau by facing the old supermarket, adjacent to the convent, with Logonna stone and covering the roof in slate in order to create a much larger gallery space of 1,200 m². The old offices, the courtyard and the chapel, which date from the 17th century, are similarly restored.
The Foundation aims to give the greatest number of people, in particular children, the opportunity to see contemporary art. It aims to organise and co-produce exhibitions with French or foreign institutions, or host projects designed by other organisations. It plans to extend this work in partnership with local authorities, museum institutions, foundations or associations and to become part of the national cultural network.
Each year, the Foundation holds two or three major exhibitions devoted to contemporary art with diverse themes. The Foundation aims, above all, to present contemporary iconic artists. The Leclerc’s wish to establish a cultural fund has led to a range of developments, which have welcomed some 125,000 visitors to the exhibition dedicated to Joan Miró in 2013, and some 140,000 to see Giacometti’s works in 2015. This year on August 13th 2018, the Foundation welcomed its one millionth visitor.
In a recent interview, Michel-Édouard Leclerc stated, “we have a mission for public service, we have the opportunity to stir up the curiosity in art by bringing the best of world art here.”
True to the commitment of the E. Leclerc Movement founded in Landerneau, to the Capuchins, by Édouard Leclerc, “Access to all” is the Foundation’s philosophy. To promote access to cultural and spiritual assets, the Foundation has developed mediation tools for all audiences: two mediators assisted by students from the Schools of Fine Arts and Art History. An educational service welcomes young audiences and families, individual audiences and groups. Art history workshops, lecture series, readings and concerts will also be offered. Finally, access to all audiences is supported by an advantageous pricing policy which varies according to the exhibitions.
Exhibitions will also embrace drawing, photography and installations for which the Capuchins offer two additional spaces near the exhibition hall: the courtyard, mineral gold granite case and the Chapel where exhibitions will resonate with the collection of sacred European art from the 14th to the 18th century.
The Foundation has also created its own publishing house.