Journal Article

The Musée Gustave Moreau

Maarten Liefooghe

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 191-201
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhp020
The Musée Gustave Moreau

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When the Parisian painter Gustave Moreau died in 1898, he bequeathed his house and its consciously arranged collections to the French state on condition that the collection's integral character be maintained. Opened in 1904 as the Musée Gustave Moreau, the house made public the life and oeuvre of a painter whose seclusion had become legendary during his lifetime. Tied to Moreau's habit of collecting and reworking his own work, the format of a personal monographic museum emerged only in the last resort as a modification of an earlier planned retrospective exhibition. It is argued that Moreau's enterprise should be interpreted in connection with the art-historiographic paradigm of life and work rather than with any museographic format. Moreau's strategic bequest envisioned the presentation of his work as a lifetime achievement, the posthumous evaluation of which would ultimately prove him a genius and recognize his contribution to the history of art.

Journal Article.  7480 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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