The Musee Eugene Delacroix Museum in Paris
The Musee Eugene Delacroix is a museum in Paris which is dedicated to the renowned painter Eugene Delacroix, showcasing his work, ideas and more, which is to be found within the heart of the Saint Germain des Pres area of Paris and within the apartment and studio where he lived and worked.
The history of the Musee Eugene Delacroix in itself is very fascinating, the original studio which the 19th century painter worked in was used only after the man became seriously ill and found the trek from his home to where he was working at the time too far to contend with. He found a place on Rue de Furstenberg which he found both calming and bright, and where he stayed for the rest of his life.
However, when he did die in August 1863, as he had no direct heir, his wish in his will was that his works were to be sold at the Hotel Drouot auction house in Paris along with most of his furniture. In fact there are many museums which hold his paintings such as Musee du Louvre, the Chateau Versailles castle and Musee Conde in the Chateau Chantilly. Although many of his personal items were shared among his friends relatives and servants.
After that many different people lived within the apartment but in 1929 there were talks to destroy the apartment.
Not long after there were several painters, two different historians of Delacroix, and an art collector who sought to prevent the destruction of the building by creating a society. Taking the name of Societe des Amis d’Eugene Delacroix, they initially simply rented the studio. Eventually leading onto being able to rent the apartment also with the idea of promoting work by the painter, starting exhibitions from 1932.
Towards the year 1952 the society placed the property for sale and sold the works and collections to National French Museums. Although with the money which was generated they put it forward and brought the apartment, studio, and the small garden.
A couple years later the same society donated the property to the French government under the condition that a museum would be created in memory of Eugene Delacroix. However it was only in 1971 that the Musee Eugene Delacroixbecame a French museum and eventually the apartment, courtyard and garden were placed onto the historical monuments in Paris list.
Although it does not stop there, an apartment which connected to the original painters apartment was brought in 1992, so that it could show even more to visitors, as well as showcase many documents for researchers, historians and teachers.
And more recently in 2004 the museum was handed responsibility to French state, who also owns the Musee du Louvre, to help preserve the museum and the property.
Although many items happened to be sold upon his death, many items such as his palettes, easels, painting tables, a glass he used to wash up with and candlesticks were left within his studio, all of which are now viewable at the museum, along with a collection of photographs towards the end of his life and a portrait miniature of him made by one of his friends, Jeanne Mathilde Herbelin.
This museum in Paris also holds works from nearly every phase of his art career, which cover a whole variety of themes including the only 3 attempts Eugene Delacroix tried at fresco in 1834 when he was at Valmont in the Haute Normandy region of France.
Among the paintings there are also drawings you can see, including many primary studies for paintings such as Chapelle des Saints-Anges at the Eglise Saint-Sulpice Church where he worked for some years before he died.
This section also has drawings made by some of his friends and colleagues, which is one of the museums goal to obtain them all. Such as the already established and complete collection of Eugene Delacroix’s lithographic stones for Hamlet and the corresponding prints.
Adittionally there are also letters and documents of the artists life, with letters sent and received from Eugene Delacroix, including ones sent to his cousin, the lawyer Pierre-Antoine Berryer as well as ones sent to the writer Theophile Gautier and additionally Josephine de Forget who he had an affair with.
Although one of the more touching letters came from Jenny Le Guillou, who had been his housekeeper and soon a very dear friend who was with him when he died, who in turn sent a letter to the cousin of the Eugene Delacroix announcing his death.
Taking a step away from his art career Eugene Delacroix also took a trip to Morocco in 1832 which he was most fascinated by, taking numerous sketches and notes along with various objects from the foreign country, which are now on display at Musee Eugene Delacroix.
The museum is to found in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris, inside the popular Saint Germain des Pres area. And is also noticeably close to the Saint-Sulpice church, which is the second largest church in Paris preceded by the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Musee Eugene Delacroix is open daily from 9:30am to 5pm except for on a Tuesdays and National French holidays. However the museum is not accessible for the disabled and not advisable for children due to the lack of a handrail on a staircase leading up to the museum.
Due to the small size of the museum groups larger than seven people have to make a reservation and are limited to twenty five people including a guide and guided visits are conducted at a separate time form the usual opening times of the museum.
Although there are workshops for both adults and children to enjoy as well as special events and even a marquee can be set up in the garden, which have to be pre-booked.
The Musee Eugene Delacroix is an interesting and intriguing museum with a lot of history and variants of art suitable to visit while on Holiday in Paris.