Rochefort-en-Terre and the painters

Rochefort-en-Terre source of inspiration for painters

Juched on its rocky spur, the village of Rochefort-en-Terre has always been a source of inspiration for many painters. As in Pont-Aven, at the end of the 19th century, Rochefort-en-Terre was visited by many painters, charmed by the old houses filled with history. They stayed at the Auberge Lecadre (now the Biscuiterie).

One of these painters, the American Alfred Klots, literally fell in love with the village. He was the one who would be at the origin of the revival of the town.

The defense of Rochefort-en-Terre

Alexandre Bloch


On March 16, 1793, the Chouans seized the town. Rochefort was recaptured without much difficulty on March 26 by soldiers from Vannes. In July 1793, the Republicans, fearing that it would become a Chouans’ lair, largely destroyed the medieval castle of Rochefort-en-Terre.

Specializing in Chouannerie subjects, which were in vogue at the Paris Salon in the 1880s, Alexandre Bloch(1860-1919) here paints the resistance of the Chouans against the Bleus. This painting was exhibited in Paris in 1885, at the Salon de la société des artistes français, as well as in 1889, at the Exposition universelle.
Alexandre Bloch was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1911 for his services as a reserve lieutenant in a territorial infantry regiment. Upon his death, he was military painter accredited as a painter of the Army Museum.

At the origin of the city's renewal

Alfred Klots

Coup de coeur for Rochefort-en-Terre

American portrait artist, Alfred Klots fell under the spell of Rochefort-en-Terre on his first visit in 1903, and in 1907, he decided to buy the ruins of the old medieval castle. He rebuilt a new castle on the 17th century outbuildings (including the old stables). Alfred Klots invested in local life, and as early as 1911, he created the 1st flowered window contest which became over time that of “flowered villages“. It stimulates the taste of the Rochefortais for their heritage, thus setting up the bases of a tourist activity.

The Klots share their life between America and Rochefort-en-Terre where they invite many artists. When Alfred Klots died in 1939, his son Trafford, also a painter, carried on the family tradition. He died in 1976, but his wife Isabel Klots kept the American artistic presence of painters at the castle alive, notably by creating an agreement between the general council and the Maryland Institute of Baltimore to host American painters, in residence, during the summer. Rochefort-en-Terre owes much to the Klots family.

Don’t hesitate to push open the door of the Café Breton, one of the oldest bistros in Europe open since 1818! You can admire a superb original fresco by Alfred Klots representing a Breton wedding scene, while enjoying a delicious crêpe.

In 1978, the General Council of Morbihan bought the castle from Isabel Klots as a life annuity. The latter will keep the usufruct of half of the castle and the other part will be open to visitors.

The castle of Rochefort-en-Terre is now owned by the commune since 2013, following a donation from the department. To date, the park of the castle is open free to visit from 10am to 6:30pm. You can also thanks to the Guidigo app (free), take a

audio tour of the castle

Scenes of life in Rochefort-en-Terre

Marius Borgeaud

A Recognized Swiss Artist

Marius Borgeaud was one of the most highly rated artists of his generation, alongside Ferdinand Hodler and Felix Vallotton.He was born in Lausanne in 1861 into a bourgeois family. Having initially belonged to the post-Impressionist movement, he soon imposed his own style, far from any pictorial movement. Marius Borgeaud, who divided his life between Paris and Brittany, exhibited in the capital as early as 1904.

After brief stops in Pont-Aven and Locquirec in 1908, he moved to Rochefort-en-Terre in 1909 at the Auberge Lecadre (Hotel Le Pélican today) and stayed there for about ten years. He will always keep a pied-à-terre in Paris, while spending much of the year in Brittany. Marius Borgeaud resisted the picturesque temptation of ports and the folkloric attractions of Bigoudenes in procession, preferring to paint the interiors and scenes of life.

It was in Rochefort-en-Terre that two of his best-known series were born, done for one in the town hall and for the other in the pharmacy of his friend Ernest Houal, and which brought him great success at the Salon des indépendants in Paris. They launch his career, so to speak. It is these interiors scenes that testify to the maturity of his work and will make his reputation.

The 11 years spent in Rochefort-en-Terre, he loved the atmosphere of the bistros, the walks with his pharmacist Hernest Houal, even to the heights of St Fiacre. In 1918, he met Madeleine Gascoin in Rochefort-en-Terre whom he married in 1923. In the meantime, he moved to another village in Brittany, Le Faouët, also known for its colony of painters. He died in 1924, leaving a body of work of nearly 350 paintings.

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Rochefort-en-Terre welcomes

many artists

Couleurs de Bretagne

Every year, Rochefort-en-Terre welcomes many painters, especially in the context of the painting competition organized by the association Couleurs de Bretagne. Since 1994, this association works for the promotion of the Breton heritage. Painting contest open to all.

Art in the Cities

Since 2005, and every two to three years, the Small Cities of Character in Brittany, of which Rochefort-en-Terre is a part, welcome a group of foreign painters of the same nationality. They create new works in inspiring places full of history. During 6 weeks of spring roaming, the artists take a fresh look at what surrounds them and transpose it, according to their own culture, intonew creations. After having welcomed Russian, Chinese, Czech, American, Japanese, Congolese and Malagasy painters, then Polish graphic designers; the Little Breton Cities, including Rochefort-en-Terre received in 2021, a new delegation of French artists authors of comic strips.

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Village of artists

Rochefort-en-Terre continues to inspire many artists and painters, whom you can discover and meet in their studios located in the heart of the village. A parcours des arts allows you to meet the creative craftsmen.

In the park of the castle of Rochefort-en-Terre, the Naïa Museum, a museum and gallery of the arts of the imagination, presents more than 70 international artists. At the heart of the worlds of fantasy, visionary and science fiction, a unique place in Europe!