The Delacroix Museum, backstage of an artist's life
The Delacroix Museum is located in the last apartment and the last studio occupied by the painter. This national museum is an artistic homage, and it was created thanks to painters such as Maurice Denis, Paul Signac or even Henri Matisse in1928, when the owner Charles Panckouke wanted to demolish the studio and build a garage instead. The Delacroix Museum is under the authority of the Louvre since the 1st of January 2004.
History of the museum
In 1857, when the sick and tired Eugène Delacroix left the Notre-Dame de Lorette neigborhood for an apartment closer to the Church of Saint-Sulpice (where he had to finish the mural of the Chapel of the Holy Angels), he was not aware that his new home would later shelter a place dedicated to his memory.
After he died in 1863, various tenants successively lived there, until the owner decided to demolish the studio to build a garage. The artists Maurice Denis, Paul Signac and Henri Matisse, who were great admirers of the painter, quickly created the Society of the Friends of Eugène Delacroix to prevent the demolition they considered a sacrilege. In 1954, the society donated the place and the art collections to the State, the latter commiting to create a museum there. In 1971, the Eugène Delacroix Museum became "National Eugène Delacroix Museum", and was put under the direct authority of the Museums of France.
The museum presents the work of the artist in an intimate atmosphere through a very diverse collection: paintings, watercolors, drawings, but also pastels, sketches, or preliminary studies, such as the famous one for the mural in Saint-Sulpice... The Delacroix Museum art collection has various magnificent religious paintings, such as the Mary Magdalen in the Desert.
Visitors will also have the chance to find letters of the artists and photographies of his entourage, including Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, or even Georges Sand. There are also various souvenirs the artists brought back from Morocco in 1832.
Other art pieces add up to the collection, such as works of Léon Riesener and Paul Huet from the Louvre’s Department of Paintings, but also sculptures and drawings of various artists from the Louvre’s Department of Prints and Drawings, those being exposed in rotation as they are very fragile.
Visiting the Delacroix Museum
Visiting the museum is the best way to discover the intimacy of one of the greatest painters in French history. The place in itself has never changed since the time the painter lived there. Unfortunately, the furniture was dispersed at the auction that took place after his death in February of 1864.
Until recently, only three rooms of the apartment were opened to the public: the living room, the bedroom and the library. Adding the dining room added some space to visit. Visiting the studio is also something exceptional as one can easily picture one of France’s greatest artists at work.
Apart from the cultural visit, the flowery alleys of the garden constitute a very pleasant setting to take a stroll peacefully and take the time to fully experience the charm of the place.