Thursday, October 24, 2013

40. The Musée Jacquemart-André

A visit to the The Musée Jacquemart-André is a wonderful experience and a must for anyone coming to Paris. This is a public museum that was created from the private home of Édouard André (1833–1894) and Nélie Jacquemart (1841-1912) to display the art they collected during their lives. 

The Musée Jacquemart-André entrance - but all is not as it appears ..

The museum is undergoing renovations, but they have been very clever with covering the scaffolding ... 

Portrait of Édouard André - by Franz-Xavier Winterhalter - 1860
Édouard André, the scion of a Protestant banking family, devoted his considerable fortune to buying works of art. He then exhibited them in his new mansion built in 1869 by the architect Henri Parent, and completed in 1875.

He married a well-known society painter, Nélie Jacquemart, who had painted his portrait 10 years earlier. Every year, the couple would travel in Italy, amassing one of the finest collections of Italian art in France. When Edouard André died, Nélie Jacquemart completed the decoration of the Italian Museum and travelled in the Orient to add more precious works to the collection. Faithful to the plan agreed with her husband, she bequeathed the mansion and its collections to the Institut de France as a museum, and it opened to the public in 1913.

The permanent collection takes up all of the ground floor and some rooms upstairs - the remainder of the upstairs galleries are devoted to running exhibitions. I was fortunate to visit during a magnificent exhibition of Victorian Masterpieces from the artists famous in England during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th century.

Bessie Keene - Edward C Burne-Jones - 1893

La Boule de Cristal - John W Waterhouse - 1902

Le Philtre d'Amour - John W Waterhouse - 1906

Le Sentier de l'Amour - Talbot Hughes - 1898

Enid de Geraint - Arthur Hughes - 1863

Chanson sans Parole - John Strudwick - 1875

Le Quatuor de Hommage du la Musique - Albert J Moore - 1868

Le Temps Jadis - John M Strudwick - 1907

La Remparts de la Maison de Diu - John M Strudwick - 1889

La Joueuse de Saz - William C Wontner - 1903

L'absence fait grandir l'amour - John W Godward - 1912

Confidence Importune - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - 1895

Le Chant du Printemps - John W Waterhouse -1913

Pyrrha après son bain - John W Godward - 1903

La Question - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - 1888

La Reine Esther - Edwin L Long - 1878

La Retour du Marche - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - 1865
More of the grand home ....

Madame's Chambre

la chambre de monsieur

Portrait de Magistrat - Antoon Van Dyck - 1620 

Portrait d'une Femme - Rembrandt Van Reijn

Portrait d'homme - Phillipe de Champaigne - 1654

In all the grand buildings I have visited, the floors are either very well worn marble or exquisite parquetry floors that creak under foot !! ...

I find wandering through museums set in homes that once belonged to patrons of the arts - real people - far more enjoyable than visiting the larger and grander public buildings. Here there is a real feeling that the collection had purpose other than display.
It’s lovely to have the odd serendipitous moments when travelling – today I stumbled across a church not on my map - Trinite Estienne d'Orvesand - went inside to find I had gate-crashed a very small intimate funeral way down the front of this huge building. I sat down at the back to listen and to swoon over the architecture – when suddenly the organ up behind me started bellowing and a young woman up front sang the most beautiful Ave Maria, echoing throughout this old temple  – what an experience.  And that’s what is making my journey so enjoyable – the unexpected at a given moment – not planned.
We may head to church tomorrow ...