History of Musee Eugene Delacroix Museum in Paris
The Musee Eugene Delacroix Museum in Paris is dedicated to this 19th century painter and is housed within the apartment where Eugene Delacroix lived and worked, and as well as personal items, journals, letters etc, you can also discover works from virtually every period during the career of this French painter.
But now for the history
In 1847 Eugene Delacroix was provided a commission to work on the Saint-Sulpice Church in order to decorate the interior of the Saints-Anges chapel, and at that time he was living on Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.
Yet it was a long trek from his studio to place of work, and at this time he had also worked on the central section of the Galerie d’Apollon at the Musee du Louvre.
Although Eugene became seriously ill, he still wanted to finish his work on the Saint-Sulpice Church in the Saint Germain des Pres area of Paris in the 6th Arrondissement, and eventually he could no longer cope with the trip across the city each day.
So he gave up his studio to move nearer to the church and through a friend, the calm and brightness of a place on Rue de Furstenberg was discovered where Eugene Delacroix could have exclusive use of a garden, and it became his home and studio, right up until his death.
With the exception of the remodelling work that had to be done, as he had his own studio built in the garden, which was hidden from the road, once Eugene Delacroix was able to move into his new house, he expressed contentment through his journals, with its charm and the cheerful garden that made him happy.
However, when he died in the August of 1863, because he had no direct heir, his wish was that his works would be sold at the Hotel Drouot auction house in Paris and most of his furniture was also sold there.
In fact, there are many different museums in Paris that hold paintings such as the Musee du Louvre, the Musee Conde in the Chateau Chantilly and also at the Chateau Versailles castle. But many personal items were shared amongst friends, relatives and servants, including Jenny Le Guillou who had been his housekeeper that became a dear friend for many years, and was with him when he died.
From then on, there were various people that occupied the apartment and studio, but by the year 1929 discussions were being conducted to destroy the studio.
Then several painters, two different historians of Delacroix, plus an art collector, came up with the idea of creating a society to prevent the destruction of the studio etc, which they called the Societe des Amis d’Eugene Delacroix and initially they rented just the studio.
Then the society managed to rent the apartment as well, with the idea of promoting the work of Eugene Delacroix and they started organising exhibitions, etc from 1932.
Yet, it was in the year 1952 that the property was put up for sale and the society decided to sell all of their collections to the National French museums, but with the money generated, they purchased the apartment, studio and its small garden.
Two years later, the society donated the property to the French government with a proviso that a museum in Paris would be created, in the memory of Eugene Delacroix. However, it was not until 1971 that the Musee Eugene Delacroix became a National French museum.
Eventually the building, courtyard and garden, along with the museum, were put onto the list of historical monuments in Paris.
But the history of the Musee Eugene Delacroix Museum in Paris does not stop there, as it was in 1992 that part of an apartment, which joined the apartment occupied by this revered painter, was purchased. This was so that there could be an additional visitor's area and an information room, which now holds a vast amount of documentation for historians, researchers and teachers.
In 1999, the garden itself was renovated and is an important part of the museum, as it includes many different trees and plants that Eugene Delacroix loved and featured so heavily within many of his works.
He loved nature and had studied botany in earlier years, and even though it is not a completely true reconstruction of how the garden was originally laid out due to a lack of precise documents, it is close as could be, and creates an intimate space of colours that he so adored.
Then finally in 2004, the Musee National Eugene Delacroix came under the responsibility of the French state who own Musee du Louvre in Paris, and this was a major decision taken in order to continue to preserve this artist's house, studio, garden and museum.