I started collecting in 1964 at the age of eighteen. It, very quickly, became an obsession and the central part of my life.
In 2002, my wife and I emigrated to South Africa and needed to find a new home for the collection. I was determined to make it available to the public, to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.
It was my good fortune to be introduced to Philippe Martin, President of the Conseil General of Gers and Michel Hue, Conservateur du Patrimoine and director of L’Abbaye de Flaran. The Abbey was built in the 12th century by Cistercian monks and is situated at Valence-sur-Baïse in the south west of France. My eclectic collection is now in their capable hands, on loan till 2021.
Michel Hue stages themed exhibitions every two years and in addition, temporary summer exhibitions which are drawn from the collection of 20th Century artists, including works by Ken Paine, Zdzislaw Ruszkowski and Gavriel Malysh.
I hope that logging on to this site will encourage you to visit the Abbey.
Michael Simonow 2016
By Freddie Child-Villiers