Birth of the domain
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.
The first houses: La Maison du Hangar (Shed house), the Caretaker’s house, the Pool house, Gisclard
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.
Creation of the FSER
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.
Aurési, Moussu, la Grande Maison (the Big House) and la Petite Maison (the Little House), Ammonite
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, kept 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 the sessions of the Voice Academy.
The Ammonite house, bought from a farmer of the Canjuers Plateau in 1962, gave 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 works of art collection, 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 Centre for Literary Studies of les Treilles, the “André Gide – Jean Schlumberger Centre“.
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.
Constitution of the Fondation des Treilles
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 domain. 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 forerunning “association of the Fondation des Treilles” was created, the latter being recognized as being of public utility on March 14, 1986.
Reception of the first seminar
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.
From now on, the foundation hosts 17 seminars each year bringing together around twenty participants over six days, on often very specialized themes but favouring disruptive innovation, multidisciplinarity and the mixture of generations and geographical origins.
Researchers are also received individually or in small groups as part of short study stays lasting from one to three weeks.
Maison des Chênes (Oak house), Pertus, Maison des Sondes (Oil probes house) and Lou Pra
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).
Maisons des Sondes (Oil probes house) and their garden
Around the Maison des Sondes, near the Oaks House, Yassilakis Takis creates the “Garden of Probes” from old oil probes designed by the engineer Henri Doll, first husband of Anne Gruner.
Today classified as a protected historical monument along with the estate, the work was inaugurated by François Mitterrand in September 1986.
Death of Anne Gruner Schlumberger
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.
The Treilles exhibitions, an artistic roaming
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…
The “Treilles’ interviews” at Gallimard
At Gallimard, in the collection “Les Cahiers de la NRF“, the first volume of the series “The Treilles’ interviews” was published: “From Melancholy”, under the direction of Jean Clair and Robert Kopp.
Author’s Residency Prize
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 a project selected by the jury of the Foundation.
Inauguration of the Gide Schlumberger Centre for Literary Studies
As a niece of Jean Schlumberger, co-founder of the NRF (Nouvelle Revue Française), Anne Gruner acquires at his death his personal library and archives and places 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 Centre for Literary Studies, created on the initiative of Robert Kopp, this fund enables researchers selected each year by the Centre 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.
Registration of the Treilles domain at the ISMH (Additional Inventory of Historic Monuments)
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.
Cultural & Artistic Heritage Prize
From 2010 until 2012, the Foundation awarded the Heritage Prize. This prize was intended to encourage research on the landscape, architectural and artistic heritage of the Treilles Domain, as well as research on the work of creators associated with the history of the Foundation.
The Photography Prize
In love with the Mediterranean world, Anne Gruner 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.
The Voice Academy
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 “Treilles meetings”
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.