Jardin du musée Eugène Delacroix, vue de l'atelier
? 2013 Musée du Louvre, dist. RMN / Antoine Mongodin
Collections & departments The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix
The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, on Place de Fürstenberg, occupies the great Romantic painter’s apartment and his studio, in a garden behind the building.
The artist’s apartment and studio
Delacroix spent the last years of his life (from 1857 to 1863) in this haven of peace in the heart of Paris, having decided to leave his studio on Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette to be nearer the church of Saint-Sulpice where he was in charge of the decoration of a chapel.
Despite being seriously ill, Delacroix was determined to finish this project, which he saw as his artistic and spiritual testament, but he was no longer able to make the long daily journey across Paris; he was therefore delighted to find calm, bright lodgings near the church with the help of his friend Etienne Haro, a painting restorer and paint store owner. Once he had moved in, Delacroix often expressed his pleasure in his journal and letters: “My lodgings are decidedly charming (...). Woke up the next day to see the most delightful sunshine on the houses opposite my window. The view of my little garden and the cheerful appearance of my studio always fill me with pleasure.” (Journal, December 28, 1857).
Eugène Delacroix lived in this discreet apartment until his death on August 13, 1863, protected from unwanted visitors by his housekeeper, Jenny Le Guillou.
From apartment to museum
Having no direct heirs, Delacroix had expressed the wish that his works should be dispersed by public sale at the Hôtel Drouot. Most of his furniture was also sold, except for a few personal souvenirs that were shared among his relatives, friends, and servants. The apartment then had a series of tenants, until it was suggested that the studio should be demolished to make way for a garage.
At this point, a group of painters (including Maurice Denis and Paul Signac) and historians or collectors of Delacroix decided to form an association to prevent this destruction and create a space to be used for exhibitions, concerts, and lectures. The Société des Amis d'Eugène Delacroix was founded under the presidency of Maurice Denis in 1929, and gained state approval in 1934; a permanent collection, open to the public, was gradually built up through donations and loans from Society members.
When the building was put up for sale in 1952, the Society, which had tenant status only, sold its collection to the French national museums, using the proceeds to buy the apartment, studio, and garden which it donated to the State in 1954 on the understanding that a museum would be created. For rationalization purposes, the Musée National Eugène Delacroix came under the responsibility of the state-owned Musée du Louvre in 2004.
Part of the apartment adjoining that of the painter was purchased in 1992, which made it possible to extend the museum on the upper floor. The further purchase of ground-floor premises in 2011 will provide a new reception area and create extra exhibition space upstairs.
The intimate setting of Delacroix’s former home provides a perfect backdrop for the collection, which comprises paintings, drawings, lithographs, autograph works, and personal objects (including some magnificent souvenirs of Delacroix’s trip to Morocco in 1832); it also features works by friends of the painter, including Paul Huet, Léon Riesener, and Richard Parkes Bonington, and is regularly added to with new works acquired through the combined efforts of the Louvre and the Société des Amis du Musée Eugène-Delacroix.
The museum remains true to its raison d’être, collecting and spreading knowledge of the artist. In addition to regular exhibitions (accompanied by scientific catalogues) and the publication of the annual Bulletin des Amis du musée Eugène Delacroix, the museum has created a website devoted to Delacroix, and is contributing actively (in partnership with the Université de Paris IV–Sorbonne and the French National Research Agency) to the online publication of his correspondence.
Musée National Eugène-Delacroix
6, rue de Furstenberg
Tel.: +33 (0)1 44 41 86 50
Fax: +33 (0)1 43 54 36 70
By métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés (line 4), Mabillon (line 10)
By bus: 39, 63, 70, 86, 95, 96
By car: car parks nearby on rue Jacob and at the crossroad between boulevard Saint-Germain and rue de Rennes
Open daily except Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.
Closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.