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The austere walls of these long outbuildings have turned their attention from housing armed troops to the eclectic creations of talented contemporary artists. One almost feels the need to walk on tiptoe and speak in hushed tones at this temple of the arts - with a touch of elitism, it inspires modesty in all those who dare to enter.
We were introduced to this place by the Barbellion family who own the chateau of Nançay. The Sologne is a wonderful region with well preserved nature and an abundance of fauna and flora. We were born in this region ourselves.
The Capazza Gallery is the only example of military architecture from the late 16th and early 17th century. This place was previously known as Grand Corps de Logis des Ecuyers. The specific U-shaped construction and the use of bricks from the chateau of Nançay tilery (which is very common in Sologne) make the property all the more unique.
In 1371, Guillaume de la Châtre (chamberlain of the count of Poitiers) acquired the land of Nançay in Sologne from his brother-in-law, Godemar de Lignières. His son Jean, the lord of the duc de Berry, was authorised to fortify his chateau in 1412, at the time is was a simple fortified house cited in a 1388 act. Although confirmed by Charles VII, the authorisation was not used straight away as Pierre de La Chatre deplored the modesty of his chateau due to acts of war 1458. In 1495, Gabriel de La Chatre, (chamberlain and steward of the king, councillor of State) married Marie de Saint-Amadour who, for the occasion, received 15000 of Queen Anne of Brittany's books. He accompanied Louis XII to Italy, became master of the Ceremonies of France, governor of Francis I's children and died of old age in 1538. There is no doubt that it was he who had the castle rebuilt with large houses in brick masonry enhanced with stone, flanked by towers crowned with machicolations. Designated as the main building for the squires in 1631, the important outbuildings must have been built by Henri de La Chatre (future count of Nançay) in 1594 to house the troops needed for his cousin Claude, head of the League in the Berry. Arranged around a large courtyard, the long brick facades are supported by pilasters, whilst pediments and hangers emphasise the bays. Gérard and Sophie Capazza began completely restoring them in 1978 to create the prestigious setting of their art gallery.
The Capazza Gallery is a historical heritage site attached to the castle of Nançay. On the exceptional 2000m² site are the works of eighty internationally renowned artists. Their contemporary art includes some of the most important forms of the plastic arts: painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, glass work, ceramics and goldsmithery. One of the spaces is dedicated to Alain-Fournier (author of "Grand Meaulnes" who was born in the region) and another features a bookstore and tea room.
In Nançay itself, the shortbread, the radioastronomy station, the Pôle des Étoiles and the small shops with thousands of hidden treasures are not to be missed. As for restaurants, we would recommend the Michelin-starred "Le Cercle" in Bourges, "Les Rives de l'Oizenotte" which is a little haven of peace, and "À la Page" in Gien which provides an intimate setting. You might also want to explore La Borne (a village of ceramists) the fairy tale cathedral of Jean Linard, the Château de la Verrerie in Oizon and the beautiful Jacques Coeur road.
Dedicated to contemporary art, the Capazza Gallery reinforced its vocation in 2000 by inaugurating a multicultural space with a capacity of 170 seats. The venue is particularly suited to hosting seminars and is open to any company wishing to develop its image through art's influence on the media - a prestigious vector. Individuals can also become "masters of the property" and set up an exhibition of their choice - inviting guests will be in their hands. Catering partners will prepare the desired lunches or dinners. The evening can end with some music. This ready to use service allows us to provide everyone with what they need outside of the gallery's artistic programme.
Contemporary art exhibitions: paintings, sculptures, printmaking, photography, ceramics, glass, goldsmithery. Open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from mid-March to early December from 10am to 12:30pm and 2:30pm to 7pm. Appointments can also be reserved all year round.