Famous gallery owner of Naïve Art and Outsider Art, who held the Parisian gallery “L’Oeil de Boeuf” from 1972 to 1994. exercised at 58 de la rue Quincampoix at Paris the 4th
Cérès Franco is of Brazilian origin. She was born in Bagé, in 1926 in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Through her readings and discoveries, she developed a passion for the arts very early on.
In 1949 she came to the United States to study Art History at Columbia University and then at the New School in New York. She will stay there almost 2 years.
In 1951, she moved to Paris, visited museums and galleries, became an art critic and became passionate about the works of artists whose modes of expression bypassed or challenged the codes in force
In 1962, she organized her first painting exhibition in Paris, in a cellar in Saint Germain des Prés. She asked the artists to work on an oval or round format. This exhibition is called “The Eye of the Ox”, and this name will become the name of the gallery which she will open a decade later.
from 1962 to 1972, she organized several exhibitions: Forms and magic in Paris (under the patronage of Jean Cocteau), Opinio 65 and Opinio 66 at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. In 1972, the Brazilian government commissioned the selection of the best Brazilian artists for the Bratislava Triennial of Naive Art. For this, it will receive the prize for the best national selectio.
in 1972, she opened a gallery at 58 rue Quincampoix which she called “L’oeil de Boeuf”(The eye of the ox), and which would be the first gallery in this street. It is a magnificent intuition, since the Beaubourg Center will be inaugurated in the district in 1977. She supports artists from the New Figuration of the School of Paris (Marcel Pouget, Jean Rustin, Michel Macréau, Jacques Grinberg, Corneille, Abraham Hadad), painters politically committed against the dictatorship of their country (the Brazilian Gontran Netto, the Chilean Marcos or the Greek Gaïtis), but also artists considered to be singular (Stani Nitkowski, Jaber, Chaïba, Christine Sefolosha)
While in this period in France reigns Abstract Art, Conceptual, Minimalism … Cérès Franco surrounds himself with figurative works created by artists then in their beginnings (Rustin, Nitkowski) and appears as a real discoverer of talent. The gallery owner forges strong friendships and feeds on friendly exchanges with all these artists. (See on this subject the book of letters from Stani to Ceres). She also likes to live surrounded by their works and naturally becomes a collector of this art which she defends in her gallery.
In 1994, Cérès Franco inaugurated two houses in Lagrasse in the Aude and installed the entire collection there, which she opened to the public.
In 2010, a first part of his collection was presented at the Fines Arts Museum in the City of Carcassonne. A negotiation is almost finalized so that the Museum receives a complete donation from her collection. The change of municipality in 2014 capsized the operation at the last moment, the new mayor claiming economic reasons to refuse the Franco collection, a treasure of 1,700 pieces of raw and naive art from around the world.