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   Named after its creator, the Fondation offers the public the opportunity to admire the collection of paintings and works or art united throughout his lifetime.
Particularly rich in works from the Renaissance and the French modern school - notably with more than thirty Paintings by Pierre Bonnard - the collection also includes furniture, bronzes, books and a variety of works of art. The exhibit shows the sureness and eclecticism of its author's tastes.
   The Bemberg collection is presented in the exceptional setting of the hôtel d'Assézat, a town mansion in the Renaissance style, put at the disposal of the Fondation and entirely restored by the Toulouse town council. By proposing to put the hôtel d'Assézat at the disposal of his Fondation, Toulouse granted Monsieur Bemberg's wish : to dispose of an exceptional site, where the works and objects testifying to a life wholly dedicated to the appreciation of art could be united.

The project, to rehabilitate the hôtel d'Assézat and rethink its interior with the Fondation Bemberg in mind, finally matured, after a study which lasted several years.
Indeed, the building had received minimal attention since the end of the XIXth century and its condition in 1990 called for the complete renovation of the edifice. At the same time, the potential for the creation of a new floor plan, suitable for exhibiting the collection, was studied.
Work began in May 1993 and was completed in early 1995. The Fondation opened in an entirely renovated building, tailored to its new cultural and "museal" function. The head architect of the Historic Monuments department supervised both the restoration of the building and the cleaning of the façades.
The Fondation Bemberg entrusted the layout and decoration of the interior to an architect specialized in museums, whose major concern was to give the building its original aspect, while creating a unique circuit for visits and presenting the collection in optimal conditions of vision, conservation and security.
The building work was confided to local companies, known for their ability to use the most traditional restoration techniques and the most efficient air-conditioning, security and lighting equipment.

 


  
   The Fondation Bemberg opened to the public on the 1st of February 1995 and attracted 100 000 visitors during the first year. This makes it, from the start, one of the most visited provincial museums in France. Above all, the Fondation can be described as the combination of a prestigious collection and a magnificent building; perhaps one of the keys to its particularly rapid success.

   The hôtel d'Assézat has belonged to the town of Toulouse for nearly 100 years, and under the terms of the bequest it houses the "Académies et sociétés savantes", a group of six historic cultural and scientific organisations - one founded as early as 1323.
   It was built in the second half of the XVIth century for Pierre Assézat, a prosperous merchant in the pastel trade that flourished at the time. Pierre Assézat came to Toulouse from the town of Espalion in the early XVIth century to join older brothers already involved in the business, and became the heir and successor to the business in 1545. He was married to the daughter of Toulouse's "Capitoul" or town magistrate, who was also officer general to the dowager Queen Eleanor of Austria. Pierre Assézat himself became Capitoul of the town in 1552. From 1551 he began to acquire land suitable for the construction of a great house, and on the 25th March 1555 he agreed a working contract with a master mason, Jean Castagne, and the architect-sculptor Nicolas Bachelier to build a house formed by two perpendicular wings linked by the staircase. When Nicolas Bachelier died in 1557, his son Dominique directed the construction of the entrance porch, the open gallery onto the courtyard, and the splendid "coursiere" - an upper gallery that crowns the blind party wall.

   In 1761 Pierre Assézat's descendants sold the hotel to Baron de Puymaurin, who modernised both the facade and the interior accomodation.
The overall building construction is Renaissance; the design of the façades, the adherence to Doric, Ionic and Corinthian disciplines, and the use of stone to emphasise particular architectural features. However, today the hôtel d'Assézat reflects two distinct sets of major works:
    · in the XVIIIth century the mullioned windows on the first floor were replaced by large windows to allow light into the newly created drawing rooms;
    · in the XIXth century the hôtel d'Assézat was converted for use as a warehouse and offices, and bought by the Ozenne bank, which bequeathed it in 1895 to the town of Toulouse. Our rooms are also available for business meetings, dinners, conferences… only for professionals