The 300 ha of the current domain of les Treilles stretch on 600 meters high hills between the Esterel and the Sainte Victoire, covered with heath (guarrigue), forests, vineyards and terraces.
Anne Gruner Schlumberger falls in love with these remote lands, 50 hectares of which come from her family. She rounds it up by acquiring some farms from the neighborhood.
The family tradition of welcoming musicians, scholars and intellectuals at home feeds her intention to make this oasis a privileged and lasting place for meetings, reflection and exchanges, where nature, art and architecture would contribute to the reflection of its guests.
Restored in 1960, the Shed House is now home of the administrative offices and fire vehicles of the Domaine des Treilles.
The same year, an old farmhouse is arranged for the caretaker.
A page from Virgil, where he describes his swimming pool among the olive trees, had seduced the imagination of Anne Gruner Schlumberger: in 1961, encouraged by her enthusiasm, Pierre Barbe draws and then quickly builds the Pool house to host many discussions around plans and projects.
Acquired in 1962, the Gisclard house is named after its former owner. Its restoration, in 1963, preserves its Provençal courtyard shaded by a large mulberry tree, in the shadow of which Jean Schlumberger reads, during the summer of 1964, the last writings of Roger Martin du Gard.
Distancing herself from traditional and personalized visions of philanthropy, Anne Gruner creates the Schlumberger Foundation for Education and Research (FSER) in Liechtenstein, which she provides generously in order to enable her to finance her various passions: art, music and science, and later the Fondation des Treilles.
The Moussu house, in which, just a short time ago, the owner was returning his hay or his cereals through the top window and which was used as a shelter during the hunting season, was built in 1965.
The same year, the Aurési house, named after its former owner, keeps its walls, with a staircase and a terrace.
Fallen into ruin, the traditional farmhouse on the site of the future Grande Maison was demolished in 1964. To shape the landscape, Robert Fisch planted cypresses as windbreaker and Pierre Barbe built there from 1965 to 1968 the heart of the estate, a place for meetings and music, that is the home of a library and a room for concerts and conferences. Its wooden ceiling guarantees the acoustics, carefully calculated by the harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick. It now houses a grand concert piano Bosendorfer and sessions of the Voice Academy.
The Ammonite house, bought from a farmer of the Canjuers Plateau in 1962, gives its name to a new house designed by Pierre Barbe and built in 1966.
The same year the House of Children and Games is built, that is to become later on the Little House, which, since 2009, has been devoted to welcoming writers in residence.
Designed to be the home of Anne Gruner Schlumberger and to host her collection of works of art, Barjeantane, built by Pierre Barbe between 1968 and 1970 and named after the first syllables of Barbe, Jean and Anne Gruner, shelters today a library of art and old books, the cabinet of Jean Schlumberger reconstituted by Anne Gruner after the death of her uncle, and the funds of the Center for Literary Studies of les Treilles, the “André Gide – Jean Schlumberger Center“.
The last houses built by Pierre Barbe: Fonction (Office house), the Atelier (Worskhop house), Amis (Friends’ house),
In collaboration with the painter Chouchanik Seferian, Pierre Barbe designs and builds in the upper part of the estate his last three houses: the Fonction house and the Friends’ House, where the seminar organizers most often live, as well as the Atelier, a place of residence and work for Mrs Seferian.
In 1981, the Grande Maison library was enlarged to its current size.
For Anne Gruner Schlumberger, the sustainability of her work supposes defining a scientific and cultural project that responds to the challenges of the coming decades and then structure it.
On May 15 and 16, 1980, she gathered for a constituent meeting some personalities who will imagine with her the future of the Treilles. Michel Serres, René Thom, Maryvonne and Bernard Teissier, Charles Salzmann, Pierre Provoyeur, Dominique de Menil and Michel Gouilloud are among these pioneers.
In February 1981 the prefiguration association of the Fondation des Treilles was created, the latter being recognized as being of public utility on March 14, 1986.
The first seminar held at les Treilles (three men and two women, a French philosopher, an American poet, a British historian of mathematics, two American specialists in nineteenth-century French literature) assumes its experimental and multidisciplinary vocation, refusing to choose a theme. Its objective is to test the virtues of the place, haven of benevolent but animated and in-depth exchanges between the different fields of knowledge.
More than 400 seminars have followed since. They now host about twenty participants for six days, often on very specialized themes but encouraging disruptive innovation, multidisciplinary fields of research and the mix of generations and of geographical origins.
Yves Nioré, visual artist and architect, restores a shed close to the Grande Maison, the Oak House, and builds the Pertus, a house built in the rock with a magnificent view on a valley of olive trees and cypresses. Chouchanik Seferian directs the construction of the IT House – now Oil Probes House (Maison des Sondes) – and Lou Pra (designed by architect Patrick Vallet).
Around the Maison des Sondes, near the Oaks House, Yassilakis Takis creates the Garden of the Probes from old oil probes designed by the engineer Henri Doll, first husband of Anne Gruner.
Today classified as a protected historical monument with the estate, the work was inaugurated by François Mitterrand in September 1986.
Anne Gruner died a few days before her eighty-eight years. Her granddaughter, Anne Postel-Vinay, succeded her as President of the Foundation.
Maryvonne de Saint Pulgent succeeds Anne Postel-Vinay as president of the Foundation.
New statutes explain the patrimonial and artistic mission of the Foundation and affect its collections to the donation, thus rendering them inalienable.
Opening on December 2, 2005 at the Cantini Museum in Marseille, the first exhibition dedicated to the artistic heritage of the Fondation des Treilles. “The look of a patron” pays tribute to the likes and friendships of Anne Gruner Schlumberger, Giacometti, Picasso, Braque, Léger, Ernst, Bauner, Sima, Matta, Takis, Lalanne…
More than fifteen exhibitions have followed in France since then, but also in Brussels, Münster or Milan.
Les Treilles is a place for meetings and exchanges, but also a retreat away from the constraints of everyday life, and a valuable asset for writers.
Open each year to two or three confirmed authors, writing or publishing in French or working in the field of Francophone culture, the Author’s Residency Prize allows them to be hosted for a few months in a house of the domain, supported and paid, in order to devote themselves to the writing of project selected by the jury of the Foundation.
As a niece of Jean Schlumberger, co-founder of the NRF (Nouvelle Revue Française), Anne Gruner acquires at her death his personal library and his archives and installs them in Barjeantane. Enriched by the acquisition of the collection of the former director of the Gallimard archives and by donations and assignments from the Catherine Gide Foundation, archives and books that belonged to André Gide, they constitute the most valuable documentary collection sheltered by les Treilles.
Assigned to the André Gide-Jean Schlumberger Center for Literary Studies, created on the initiative of Robert Kopp, this fund enables researchers selected each year by the Center to carry out work on the arts, humanities and sciences movement from the first half of the twentieth century in France.
Representative of a particularly fruitful period for the French and European literature, the set includes many novelties likely to make it better known. Several pieces were presented in the exhibition “Unexpected Gide” organized in the summer of 2019 in the Gallimard Gallery in Paris.
By order of the Prefect of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region on July 17, 2009, the Treilles domain has been included in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments, with two works by Takis: the Garden of Probes and the Plowing Instruments.
In love with the Mediterranean world, Anne Gruner has accompanied many cultural and humanitarian projects around its shores. The Photography Prize funds creation projects on a Mediterranean theme, selected by a jury that focuses on privileging no aesthetics and no gender.
The laureates spend a few weeks at the domain to produce, in one of the two laboratories (film and digital) installed for them, the artist’s prints aimed at enriching the photographic collection started by Anne Gruner.
During the founder’s life, the Treilles welcomed young musicians in training and their teachers and organized concerts in the music room of the Grande Maison, current conference room.
To reconnect with this musical tradition, the Fondation des Treilles created in November 2017 a Voice Academy which offers young professionals a place and an institutional support allowing them to perfect, beyond the vocal technique, the art of stage, with a visiting professor and a permanent team reunited by musicologist and director Ivan Alexander.
The first three visiting professors are Yvonne Kenny, Dame Felicity Lott and Dame Felicity Palmer.
Intended to make more widely known the work of the foundation at the service of research, creation and transmission of knowledge, the first Treilles Meetings were held in Paris, from May 11 to 20, 2018, at the Hôtel de Sauroy where the Fondation des Treilles exhibited photographs from the residency.
The researchers, creators, writers and musicians who came to les Treilles proposed an event every day.
Having become thematic, the Treilles Meetings now presents a book, a creation or a research supported by the Foundation.
The first of this series, organized in early 2020 in partnership with the Orsay Museum and the Gallimard editions, is devoted to relations between Gide and the painters, subject of a volume of the “Treilles’ interviews” produced from the funds of the André Gide – Jean Schlumberger Center.