The Musée Gustave Moreau is exceptionally well-hidden down a small side-street in the 9th arrondissement, yet it is well worth the detour to discover what lies within this seemingly small building. Stepping inside the small door you are greeted by a welcome sight, and one that is difficult to come across in Paris – a beautifully kept bourgeois house.
Gustave Moreau was a French Symbolist painter, who produced a lot of work based on biblical and mythological characters and places. He was a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts, and one of his most famous students was Matisse. This is the house where he both lived and worked, and produced the majority of his art, where it is still kept today.
The first floor is fascinating in that you can see Moreau’s living quarters. It is an exceptionally rare insight into a Parisian home from the 19th century perfectly preserved. It really is homely – comfy chairs and mismatched furniture are crammed into small, cosy rooms that you can imagine being inhabited. The beautifully papered walls are difficult to see, so numerous are the drawings, paintings and sketches that take up every inch of available space.
On the next two floors, in what used to be Moreau’s atelier has been converted into the gallery. The space is surprisingly large, and it is hard to imagine exactly where its origins lie. There are hundreds and hundreds of pictures, ranging from the tiny, often drawn on torn-out pieces of diary paper, to huge framed paintings. His technique is individual. Most of the time he would just paint the background using bleary colours that run into one another, and on top of this he would draw, in very thin black detailing, the outlines of buildings, animals and people. He seems to have been blasé in a very precise manner, and it worked.
The great thing about coming to visit this museum, particularly if you want to have an arty few days, is that if you keep your ticket you can get reduced entry to the Musée Henner and the Musée d’Orsay within eight days, and a free visit to the Palais Garnier, where Moreau often went. Definitely not to be missed out on!
Address: 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld, 75009
Tél: 01 48 74 38 50
Métro: Trinité or Saint Georges
Hours: 10am – 12:45pm and 2pm – 5:15pm, Closed Tuesdays and the 1st January, 1st May and 25th December
Admission: 5€ / 3€ reduced entry; Free for under 18 and 26 from the EU. Free admission on the first Sunday of each month.