Art & Culture

Published on July 4th, 2018 | by Julie Chaizemartin


Gustave Moreau Museum. In Search of Lost Times…

Staircase by Franck Raux. Photo by the Gustave Moreau Museum.

A sanctuary of art, a jewel of beauties, a refuge for dreamy souls – The Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris was formerly the artists home. It’s a place bathed in mysterious dreams.

Themed differently from room to room, from the artist’s dining room to his large workshops that occupy the 2nd and 3rd floors. This was the theatre of his life, both intimate and grandiose, reminiscent of Pierre Loti’s home in Rochefort or the English dwelling of Sir John Soane in London. The artist once said, «I think of my death and the fate of my poor little works and of all these compositions that I take the trouble to compile. Separated, they perish; taken in together, they give a little idea of who I was as an artist and the environment in which I liked to dream.» He bequeathed his house to the French State in 1897, a year before his death, with the obligation for them to leave it as it was.

A page in the history of Parisian art was written here. But also in this neighborhood, renamed New Athens in the early nineteenth century, located at the foot of Montmartre is an area that has indeed seen poets, romantics, travelers, and artists passing by the streets of Martyrs, Saint-Lazare, Blanche and Tour des Dames. Including, of course, the street of Moreau’s house, la rue de la Rochefoucauld.

Nearly 80 artists had established residency there as early as 1850, including the iconic couple George Sand and Frédéric Chopin. A setting for all fantasies, revered by André Breton and Marcel Proust, the museum of the greatest French symbolist painter gives us a beautiful opportunity to witness this work of various shades of reds and golds while meditating on its meaning, it’s still mysterious.

Photo portrait of Gustave Moreau. Photo by Gustave Moreau Museum.

Note that the Gustave Moreau museum has the largest collection of the artist’s work, but it is also very well represented in American collections, (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, The Art Institute of Chicago, Detroit Institute of Art; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, The Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, The Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, National Gallery of Art, Washington).



About the Author

Historienne de l'art et journaliste. Diplômée en droit et en histoire de l'art à la Sorbonne et à l’École du Louvre, Julie collabore à plusieurs magazines sur des sujets historiques et culturels. Elle a également créé en 2011 un fonds de dotation qui soutient des projets de sauvegarde du patrimoine à l'étranger (en collaboration avec l'UNESCO) et est l'auteur du livre "Ferrare, joyau de la Renaissance italienne" publié en 2012 (éditions Berg International).

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