After the disappearance of any of his known relatives, Gustave Moreau eventually came up with the idea of creating a museum of all his different art works, so he started adding finishing touches to many of his paintings and drawings. And by 1895 he decided to completely change the layout, sacrificing his studio on the third floor by having large workshops built, which were designed to provide as much space as possible for his works and only having a spiral staircase installed from the second floor to the third floor of the house.
He wanted to portray the creative process that he went through with each of his works through his drawings from the first draft through to the final masterpiece, but Gustave Moreau also wanted people to be able to discover more of his life and there are momentos and souvenirs, some of which had even belonged to his parents.
And so, by 1896 the Musee Gustave Moreau was in his eyes ready even though he was still re-doing some of his paintings into larger formats, yet it was only two years later that he died in the April of 1898 at the age of 72, and was laid to rest in the Cimitiere de Montmartre in Paris.
He left the house and its contents to the City of Paris in which to form the Musee Gustave Moreau and the unenviable task of putting his wishes into action came down to Henri Rupp, but by the January of 1903, the museum was opened to the general public.
About the Musee Gustave Moreau Today
Now Gustave Moreau was originally a very secretive person, who very rarely sold or even displayed his works of art, and therefore this museum houses some unique sets of works, where you can trace the creative processes and how his art progressed over the years.
Spread over three floors, there are around 1,300 paintings, watercolours and cartoons along with almost 5,000 drawings on display along with boasting some of his most famous masterpieces such as The Apparition and another called Jupiter and Samile complete with their preparatory work.
In a unique style in terms of any other museum in Paris, thousands of drawing are displayed on pivoting panels, which is like flipping through a book, plus there is a turing cabinet that dates back to the start of the museum that holds over 200 different watercolours.
And even though the workshop areas for the museum were opened in 1903, it was not until 1992 that the apartment of Gustave Moreau was opened to the public, and this is where you can discover personal items, mementos, photographs and souvenirs, some of which had originally belonged to his parents or Alexandrine Dureux, who was his “best and only friend”, yet often referred to as his mistress.
Then on the centenary of the opening of the Musee Gustave Moreau, his private study where very few people were ever allowed to enter, was eventually opened to the public after being carefully restored to how it used to be. And it is here that you can discover numerous different personal objects, see the rare books and some of the more unusual objects that he collected over the years.
Access to the Musee Gustave Moreau
Located in the 9th Arrondissement of Paris the Musee Gustave Moreau is open on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am through to 5.15pm, however on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday it opens from 10am to 12.45 and from 2pm through to 5.15pm, but this museum is closed on a Tuesday and on major French Holidays and all halls close fifteen minutes prior to closing time.
The cost of entry as of 2012 is €5, however it is free of charge to those under the age of 18 and there is also free entry on the first Sunday of each month.
Groups are also welcomed, but reservations must be made in advance, yet we would like to point out that due to steps along with the spiral staircase and there being no lift, this museum in Paris is not accessible to those that are disabled.
However, for those that are able, this is a fascinating place, which makes you feel like you have taken a step back in time, and can easily be reached via the Metro Trinite or the Saint Georges stop and by bus on numbers 32, 43, 67 and 74.
Address and Contact Details
Musee Gustave Moreau
14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld
Ile de France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 48 74 38 50
Fax: +33 (0) 1 48 74 18 71
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Musee Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris
This is an unusual and unique museum in Paris, as the painter Gustave Moreau designed and implemented the museum himself within the building where he lived and worked, and was designed in such a way that his works could be displayed to the general public just the way he wanted.
A bit of history on Musee Gustave Moreau..
Gustave Moreau originally lived with his parents in the modest house arranged on three floors with its central staircase and orange stucco facade, and then he continued to live and work alone in the same place after their deaths in 1852.
An avid Symbolist painter whose emphasis was on biblical and mythical figures, and being meticulous about his compositions, Gustave was often asked about the fate of his works, and by 1862 he was still thinking about this and wrote some notes as a reflection on the bottom of a sketch.