by Janine Lea Oesi,
On the outskirts of Paris in the 16th arrondissement, this museum dedicated to Monet houses works not on display anywhere else in the city.
Whilst Monet’s name is readily associated with the Jeu de Paume, the Orangerie and the wonderful garden at Giverny, the Marmottan museum in Paris is perhaps less well-known. Like quite a number of museums in the city, the Marmottan was once a private residence being the former hunting-lodge of Christophe Edmond Kellerman, Duke of Valmy. Jules Marmottan bought the property in 1882 and his son Paul, who moved into it, added a second hunting-lodge to house his art collection. It was this collection, together with the property itself, that Paul bequeathed to the Académie des Beaux-Arts upon his death in 1932 and which in 1934 became the Musée Marmottan.
Future collections at Marmottan
In 1957 the museum was the recipient of the art collection belonging to Dr George de Bellio, left to it by his daughter Victorine Donop de Monchy. Dr de Bellio was Monet’s physician and also counted Pissaro, Manet, Sisley and Renoir amongst his patients. In 1966 Michel Monet, the artist’s second son, left the property Giverny to the Académie and his own art collection, which contained many of his father’s most important works, was bequeathed to the Marmottan. A special exhibition room, inspired by the Orangerie at the Tuileries, was constructed in the museum to house these paintings, the most important Monet collection in the world. Further collections were bequeathed to the museum during the latter half of the twentieth century: in 1987 by Nelly Duhem, whose father Henri was an important collector of post-impressionist art and in 1996 the museum established, at the request of the benefactors, the Foundation Denis et Annie Rouart which resulted in the addition of important works by Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Henri Rouart and Berthe Morisot.
The Library Marmottan
The library, like the museum, was established with a bequest from Paul Marmottan and houses a wonderful collection of First Empire paintings, medals, designs, engravings, porcelain and sculptures. It also houses the illuminated manuscript collection of Georges Wildenstein, a bequest from his son Daniel in 1980.
Visiting the Museum
The museum is well worth a visit because, in addition to seeing works by Monet not exhibited anywhere else, you have the added bonus of the library with its own unique collections, all of which is housed in what was once an elegant private residence. On the outskirts of the city in rue Louis Boilly in the 16th arrondissement, the museum is well-served by the metro (lines 7 and 9). However, if you don’t like being underground and would like to see something of Paris at the same time, the best way to get there is to take bus line 32 which drops you off directly opposite the museum’s entrance at stop Louis Bouilly. But make sure you enter by the rue Bouilly entrance. As I didn’t see it immediately when I got off the bus, I went around to the main street and entered the property by the first open gate that I saw only to find myself a few minutes later completely cut off from the museum itself, the gate by which I had entered now closed! Fortunately, someone from the museum’s staff saw me and came to my assistance.
Sources: Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.