"What we need is a school of vision."

 - Léo Marchutz

In recognizing a need for a “school of vision” Léo Marchutz had in mind an affirmative eye-opening educational experience for students. Encouraging them to open their eyes to what Oskar Kokoschka called “the miracle of the visible world”. The open eye is the foundation; it is a principle, or better still, a habit, related to the belief that the artist’s task is to make us feel, to make us see. Especially for the painter, art begins with the open eye.

A Different Kind of MFA


The American College of the Mediterranean is proud to offer a two-year MFA degree program in painting in Aix-en-Provence, France. The 60-credit program is conducted in English and accepts artists of diverse interests and backgrounds. The program combines daily studio work, seminars, museum studies, field studies throughout Europe, and professional internship opportunities.

Mission

The mission of the MFA program at ACM is to link contemporary artist concerns to a study of the visible world and to give students a cross-cultural viewpoint through extended study in the museums and galleries of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

Focus of the MFA Program

  • Emphasizes the combination of studio art process with liberal arts learning

  • A comparative discipline of observation, perceptual analysis, and extensive museum and art historical study

  • Accentuates cross-cultural viewpoints through extended study in the cities, museums, and galleries of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin

  • Students form a coherent critical platform and an arts management process by which to present their work

  • Integrated apprenticeship courses in studio art education models



MFA Program Overview

ACM's School of Art offers a two-year MFA degree program with a concentration in Painting. The curriculum combines studio practice with liberal arts investigation, critical analysis, museum study, and field study. The 60-credit program, conducted in English, in Aix-en-Provence, France, culminates in a Thesis Project which includes a public presentation of an original body of artwork.  

Students work on campus in Aix-en-Provence, France, maintaining a daily open studio practice in their chosen discipline, while concurrently developing independent critical, aesthetic, and art historical research with core faculty advisors.  Students are expected to participate in weekly seminars, multi-city field studies, critiques, museum studies, and liberal arts inquiry.

Throughout the program MFA candidates' work is evaluated in peer and faculty critiques as well as by visiting artists. Final evaluation and approval are conducted by the MFA Faculty Committee.



Faculty

ACM faculty is comprised of experts in their fields. Both academics and professionals in their field, ACM faculty provide the MFA the academic depth and the real-life experience necessary for a well-rounded Fine Arts education.

Chronology of Studies


The Study Outline

Upon acceptance and in consultation with an advisor, MFA students present a two-year study outline accentuating their focus including a studio plan, criticism research, thesis development, and proposed locations for independent study.


Faculty Advisors

Each MFA student is assigned one studio faculty member and one liberal arts faculty member during the second year of the program to oversee and guide the student. Advisor meetings are scheduled several times each semester to present studio work, critical studies portfolio, liberal arts portfolio, and journals for review. 

Midterm and final grades from professors of content courses will also be reviewed. Continuation in the program is contingent on a positive review from both faculty and advisors at the end of each semester. 


Drawing & Painting 
(22 credits)

One of the most important aspects of the program is the accentuation of the two disciplines of drawing and painting and their inter-relationship. Although students' concentration is on painting, it is imperative that they experiment with both. Drawing I and II are prerequisites for all MFA thesis work. The MFA curriculum is based upon the principle that drawing is the basis of all good painting. In the first year, all students are required to enroll in Drawing I and II.

The painting contact courses take place at the Atelier Marchutz, a light-filled space conceived by French architect Fernand Pouillon. Students work together in this common space with painting instructors and are also expected to work independently during the week. Sixteen credits of intensive painting (6 credits during the first year and 10 credits during the second year) are required.

Painting                                 Credits

Painting I: ART 630      Fall        3
Painting II: ART 632     Spring   3
Painting III: ART 633    Fall       6
Painting IV: ART 634    Spring   4

Drawing                                Credits

Drawing I: ART 501      Fall        3
Drawing II: ART 502     Spring   3


Critical Studies (9 credits)

The Critical Studies courses are seminars in which students and faculty read and discuss criticism essays, artists' writing on art, and philosophical texts. They include field studies in museums, artist studios, and galleries. Critical Studies I and II accentuate an overview of critical thought from past generations which will be used as a springboard for Critical Studies III in which a contemporary analysis in conjuncture with each student’s thesis project will culminate in a final 15-page paper to accompany the studio work.

Critical Studies                       Credits

Critical Studies I: ART 509      Fall        3
Critical Studies II: ART 510     Spring   3
Critical Studies III: ART 511    Spring   3


Thesis Project (5 credits)

In year two students will, in concert with their faculty advisors, propose and execute a body of work in a purposeful manner which will culminate in a final, public exhibition to be determined and approved by the final exhibition committee.

The Journal

A journal documenting all aspects of the Critical Studies component and Thesis Project is a requirement for all students. Part of the final exhibition presentation will consist of a collation and presentation of the journal work covering the entire two-year process. The final journal presented at the final exhibition can and should take a form that is consistent with the underlying theme of the thesis project presentation.


Art History (6 credits)

A range of art history courses is offered to the MFA students. Students choose two art history courses that coincide with their study outline and future thesis project. Six credits (two courses) of Art History are required, with each course including a research paper assigned at the graduate level. Course options include the following:

Art History

ART/ARH 401: Introduction to Art History: Prehistory to Modern Times
ARC/ARH 512: European & Mediterranean Prehistoric Art and Archaeology
ARC/ARH 513: Powers and Identities in the Ancient Mediterranean
ART/ARH 520: Picasso, Matisse, and the Mediterranean
ARC/ARH 531: Archaeology, Art, and Architecture of Ancient Provence (in French)
ART/ARH 540: The Mediterranean and Beyond: Cross-Cultural Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture
ART/ARH 541: Islamic Art and Architecture in Europe
ART/ARH 542: Artistic Encounters in the Mediterranean: Cross-Cultural Perspectives in European Art
ART/ARH 563: Baroque Art and Architecture
ART/ARH 581: The XIXth Century and French Impressionism
ART/ARH 582: Cézanne and Van Gogh

Museum Studies

MSM/ARH 558: Curating Arts in the 21st Century: Challenges and Practices
MSM/ARH 591: Museums Today: Mission and Challenges (Museology Seminar)
MSM/ARH 537: History of Museums: The Memory of Mankind from Prehistory to Nowadays


Electives (6 credits)

In the second year of the MFA program, students choose two 3-credit elective courses.  Elective course options include the following:

  • Studio art – ceramics, sculpture
  • Art Business, Art Management
  • Photography
  • Art history
  • Museum studies
  • Teaching assistance
  • Museum Internship
  • French language and culture
  • Courses from the Humanities and Social Sciences School
  • Courses from the Business and International Relations School
  • Independent Study


The Masters Forum (3 credits)

All first-year MFA students are required to take The Masters Forum (ART 515) in their first semester.  This graduate course aims to inspire the students through exposure. Exposure to other points of view, different types of art practice, and a more diverse range of mediums and expression, as a means of supplementing the experience of intense oil painting practice already at the core of the first-year curriculum.  This course is the site where art history and fine arts meet, and it is built around discussion and practice/workshops led by several local artists.

Anthony Marschutz shares with ACM MFA master students the story of his father, Léo Marchutz, a painter and lithographer (1903-1976).  He talked about the life, art, and studio of his father as our MFA students take their Drawing and Painting classes in Léo Marchutz’s Studio; l'Atelier Marchutz.

Language and Culture (6 credits)

All candidates are required to take at least six credits of French language and culture courses from the French and Language Department at ACM.


Critiques and Visiting Artist Seminars 

In addition to two critiques per semester by faculty members, students participate in Visiting Artist Seminars including local and international visiting artists who are invited to campus to participate in sessions including lectures and critiques of MFA student work. All students participate in at least one seminar.  


January Term Field Study Seminar (3 credits)

All MFA candidates are required to attend one January Term Seminar with a study proposal indicating why and how the field study relates to their thesis proposal. Currently offered J-Term Seminars may be found here.


Arts Education and Teaching Assistantships

The ACM unique MFA degree program has embedded within it an apprenticeship component. Through direct observation and assistantship in undergraduate courses, candidates may choose to embellish the direction of their independent work. As studio-art faculty know, the process of passing on knowledge is one of the most enriching experiences for their own work. Students who may eventually be interested in teaching can, upon approval, take advantage of this component within their two-year study proposal. 

Students interested in teaching assistantships may replace 3 credit hours of elective credit with a 3-credit teaching assistantship. 


Internship Opportunities

Internships at various museums and galleries are available for students interested in professional opportunities.


Final Exhibition Committee

Each student will present the Final Thesis Project and Critical Studies paper to a committee comprised of the two faculty advisors and two faculty members from the major concentration. Final Exhibition contingent on committee approval. 


Resources

Students have access (with a pre-posted schedule) to the Atelier Marchutz situated on the renowned route de Tholonet in Aix-en-Provence.  In year two, ACM provides independent studio space to all MFA students. Facilities, lecture halls, classrooms, a student lounge, audio-visual equipment, and computer access are available in one of the three main buildings of ACM situated in the 17th and 18th century center of Aix-en-Provence.


Sample Curriculum

MFA students have some flexibility in how they structure their schedules across the two years of study. The required credits are as follows:

  • Painting - 16 credits (four studio courses)
  • Drawing - 6 credits (two studio courses)
  • Critical Studies - 9 credits (three seminar courses)
  • Thesis Project - 5 credits 
  • Art History - 6 credits (two courses)
  • The Masters Forum - 3 credits
  • Electives - 6 credits (two courses)
  • Language and Culture - 6 credits (two French courses)
  • January Term Traveling Seminar - 3 credits (one traveling seminar course)

    Total = 60 credits


Sample Schedule

  • Fall Semester – Year 1 (18 Credits)

   Painting I (ART 630, 3 credits)

   Drawing I (ART 501, 3 credits)

   Critical Studies I (ART 509, 3 credits)

   The Masters Forum (ART 515, 3 credits)

   Art History (3 credits)

   French (3 credits)

  • January Term Elective (3 Credits)

   Traveling Seminar

  • Spring Semester – Year 1 (15 Credits)

   Painting II (ART 632, 3 credits)

   Drawing II (ART 502, 3 credits)

   Critical Studies II (ART 510, 3 credits)

   Art History (3 credits)

   French (3 credits)

  • Fall Semester – Year 2 (12 Credits)

   Painting III (ART 633, 6 credits)

   Critical Studies III (ART 511, 3 credits)

   Elective (3 credits)

  • Spring Semester – Year 2 (12 Credits)

   Painting IV (ART 634, 4 credits)

   Thesis Project, Exhibition (ART 750, 5 credits)

   Elective (3 credits)


For program-related questions, please contact Dr. Yumna Masarwa, Dean of the ACM School of Art.


For admissions-related questions, please contact ACM's Office of Admissions at admissions@acmfrance.org or call 1-800-221-2051.