Some of the greatest French artists are honored in Paris museums dedicated to their work. Go to the Louvre for its massive collection, but visit the smaller artist museums in Paris to learn about the individual painters and sculptors who helped shape the world of art. You know about Picasso and Monet, but what do you know about Eugene Delacroix? He is considered to be the founder of the French Romantic style and an important influence on the Impressionists.
These small, artist-specific museums are a great way to delve deep into the life and work of individual artists, and also give you another insight into the history and life of Paris. It's a different experience from the mixed art of the big museums. Also, the artist museums tend to be less crowded, with shorter lines.
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Think you know Picasso? Think again. This Spanish painter started rocking the art world when he was only a teenager, and then went on to influence the generations of painters, sculptors and artists to follow.
Paris is the site of the largest and most comprehensive Picasso museum in the world. The Musée Picasso Paris is unusual in that it not just a collection of artwork, but a whole Picasso experience that includes letters, journals, sketches, and the pieces that Picasso himself collected — works by Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Braque, and others.
The Picasso Museum closed after a 2009 robbery in which a valuable artist's notebook was stolen. During the closure the museum was expanded and renovated so that now it is twice as big as before, holding the largest collection of Picasso art and memorabilia in the world. Read our complete information on the museum and how to visit.
The Rodin Museum not only covers the work of sculptor Auguste Rodin, it's located in the mansion where he lived and worked at the end of his career. Tucked away on a side street near Les Invalides, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you walk through the gates to discover a seven-acre garden with Rodin's sculptures dotted among the plants and trees.
Wander through the gardens admiring the work of Rodin, then look inside the Hôtel Biron for more works by Rodin and others. This is the place to go if you feel you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Also unique about the Rodin Museum is that the artist himself curated the exhibits. All in all, a visit to this museum is a very pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon.
Eugene Delacroix was the most influential French artist in the first half of the 19th century. He was the inspiration for Romanticism and was a favorite of the generation of Impressionists who followed him. You'll know him by his most famous painting, Liberty Leading the People (in the picture above). Today, his last apartment and studio are a museum dedicated to his life and work. Tucked in a quiet corner of Saint-Germain, it's definitely worth a visit.
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If, like us, you love Claude Monet and the Impressionists, another museum you'll want to take in is the Marmottan Monet Museum in the 16th Arrondissement. (Its name is a clue!) Set in the charming Parc Ranlegh in the posh neighborhood of Passy, this museum contains the largest collection of Monet paintings in the world. Claude's son Michel left his father's art to the state of France at the time of his death in 1966, including the iconic Impression: Sunrise, the painting that gave the movement its name.
There are also works by Monet's contemporaries, some from his own private collection, some from the collection of Georges de Bellio, doctor to the Impressionist painters. You'll view Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Caillebotte, Pissarro, and others.
Away from the tourist route in the 15th Arrondissement is this museum dedicated to the life and work of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. It contains some fine examples of his monumental sculptures, the type of work that made him famous and successful. You'll probably recognize his most famous work, Hercules the Archer, but there's a lot to like here. The museum is set in studio and home he lived in from 1885 until his death in 1949.
Gustave Moreau was a painter of the French Symbolist school and was an important influence on his most famous student, Henri Matisse. Now you can explore Moreau's perfectly preserved 19th-century home including his studio, office, and private living areas. Discover why he is one of the most famous and influential French painters in history.
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Aristide Maillol is considered to have been the master of the female nude, and this museum dedicated to him is filled with most of his best works. But there's more to the Musée Maillol than just the artist's sculptures. Maillol also produced paintings, drawings, and even tapestries. As well, he was a collector of the works of his contemporary artists like Rodin, Rousseau, Matisse, and Picasso.
At age 15, Dina Vierny began modeling for the 73-year-old sculptor. The works he produced of her revived his career. In 1995, Dina opened this museum to exhibit Maillol's paintings, sculptures, and artwork and added her own collection of drawings by Cézanne, Degas, and Ingres. It's a fascinating story, and a wonderful museum in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the Left Bank.
Don't worry if you've never heard of the 19th-century Symbolist painter. We hadn't either, until we learned his museum is housed in a stunning mansion near Parc Monceau in the 17th Arrondissement. Even if you aren't sure about his art, it's worth a trip to see the building, one of the only private mansions of the Third Republic open to the public.
Many famous museums are all about art, like the Louvre, d'Orsay, and Pompidou. But what do you know about the other dozen or so Paris museums dedicated to art?
For instance, in addition to Pompidou there's another modern art museum in Paris that we like even better. It's smaller, more intimate, less crowded, and free! There are at least two Paris museums dedicated to Asian art. And then there are those dedicated to the arts of fashion and furniture.
• Musée Picasso…
• Rodin Museum Paris…
• Delacroix Museum Paris…
• Marmottan Monet Museum…
• Musée Bourdelle…
• Musée Gustave Moreau…
• Musée Maillol…
• Musée Jean-Jacques Henner…
• Paris Art Museums…
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