The origins of Les Treilles lie in the decision of the founder, Anne Gruner Schlumberger, to shape this domain in the upper Var into a place dedicated to the development of creativity, where reflection and intellectual exchange could flourish.
For more than 20 years, from the 1960s, she dedicated herself to this task, collaborating with architect Pierre Barbe, landscape designer Henri Fish and painter Chouchanik Seferian who currently paints and lives on the estate.
The Association of the Friends of Les Treilles came into being in 1981, from a nucleus of enthusiastic supporters of her vision. They shared her objectives and respected her determination to broaden the range of artists and scholars who could benefit from this unique intellectual environment.
From the outset, the association sought to find a special role for Les Treilles. It defined its task as organising important high level meetings of a kind that it had proved difficult to hold elsewhere. Scholars from different disciplines met at Les Treilles over a period of several weeks to discuss themes of significance.
These meetings covered all areas of knowledge and served to release the part of creativity often constrained by the limits of the laboratory or the studio.
The Foundation was officially recognized in 1986 as serving the public good by securing the objectives of the Association and extending its activities.
From that time the activities of the Foundation have primarily focused on: one-week seminars, longer periods of residential study for individuals and groups, and the allocation of prizes to doctoral and post-doctoral candidates. Requests to hold seminars, for residential study, and for prizes are evaluated by a Scientific Committee (see page “Administration”).
Since Mme Gruner Schlumberger’s death, in 1993, the Foundation has continued its activities as before. In 2004, it began an information programme to make its work better known and to develop it. Since this date, series of exhibitions of a part of the artistic collection began in 2005, then, in October 2007, the Foundation created a residency award open to authors of fiction or essays, in 2008, opened the “Centre Jean Schlumberger”, which becomes, in 2013, the “Centre André Gide-Jean Schlumberger“, created a “Cultural and Artistic Heritage prize” in 2010 and a Photography prize in 2011.