Located in the 16th arrondissement, the Musèe Marmottan-Monet is housed within a mansion that used to be the Duke of Valmy’s hunting lodge. It was bought by Jules Marmottan in 1882. Paul, Jules’ son and a great classicist, remodeled the whole structure to make it more spacious in order to display all his paintings, sculptures and furniture from the Napoleonic era.
When he died in 1932, the mansion, the art collection and their valuable library were donated to the Fine Arts Academy. Two years later it was all transformed into a museum, as the French know so well how to do.
Designated to showcase art and objects from the first Napoleonic Empire, the Marmottan museum has, over the years and with various new acquisitions, turned into one of the world’s most complete collections of Impressionist art. In 1957, the museum received Georges de Bellio’s complete art collection. Bellio, personal physician to Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and Renoir, had himself received a considerable amount of art from his patients.
In 1966, Michel Monet, the painter’s second son, donated his father’s priceless collection to the museum. Among these works is Monet’s masterpiece, Impressión Soleil Levant, the painting from which the term “impressionism” was coined.
The Musèe Marmottan-Monet houses countless watercolors, pastels, sculptures, sketches and paintings from both the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist eras. It is definitely one of those lucky finds for any art-lover out there, displaying the lesser-known works of masters, the ones you won’t immediately recognize from any art book you own.
Despite being lured in with promises of Monet originals, tourists marvel at the Musèe Marmottan-Monet’s lesser known exhibitions and displays. The museum carries two more permanent exhibitions you don’t want to miss: an impeccable medieval exhibit and the original First Empire art, furniture and objects d’art.
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