Presentation of the first museum
In the beginning of the 1990s, the City of Conches began developing its cultural policy to progressively grant a larger place to glass arts of the 20th century, leading to a museum on this theme to open in 1996.
In 1991, the City decided to acquire several pâte de verre works of art from the artists Etienne and Antoine Leperlier, whose grandfather, François Décorchemont, was a famous master glassmaker in the 20th century, thus, in this way, supporting their projects to open glass studios in the municipality. Two years after that, the City also decided to acquire the stained-glass window representing Christ teaching children from the private school, Sainte-Foy. François Décorchemont produced this stained-glass window in 1934 and donated it to the school for its catechism classroom. In the same year there was an exhibition of contemporary pâte de verre by the Leperlier brothers in the House of the Arts in Conches.
As many inhabitants in our city had requested a museum in Conches, in 1996 the City decided to found a first museum called the Glass, Stone and Book Museum to have all of the local collections housed in the same place (Archaeology, ethnology, fine arts, old books, etc.) as well as new collections of glass objects. Beginning in 2001, the museum started to have temporary exhibitions of glass arts. Initially, these exhibitions only targeted contemporary glass creations from French artists or those living in France who employed various glassmaking techniques (blown glass, moulding, thermoforming, cut-glass, incising, etc.) to produce unique glass sculptures. Amongst artists, we had exhibitions by several well-known figures in this field such as Yan Zoritchak, Mateï Négreanu, Bernard Dejonghe, Raymond Martinez, Valdimir Zbynovsky, etc.
Nonetheless, the initial presence in our museum’s collections of works of art created by François Décorchemont, from Conches, a master-artist in pâte de verre, encouraged the museum to enlarge its scientific field to include stained-glass windows and decorative glass arts from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century. Consequently, beginning in 2010, the museum organised exhibitions of contemporary stained-glass windows (Gabriel Loire, glass slabs, in 2014) as well as stained-glass windows from the inter-war period (Hébert-Stevens, Rinuy, Bony, the Parisian studio of glass painters in 2017), as well as exhibitions of glassware produced by French or foreign glassworks such as Schneider in 2012, Legras in 2013, and Loetz in 2018.
At the same time, the acquisition budgets allocated by our Town and by the Regional Acquisition Fund of Upper Normandy Museums (FRAM), as well as the generosity of several donors allowed us to expand our collections to approximately 500 works of art.