The Bourdelle Museum reopened on 6 March after several months of renovation. After visiting Mariola’s B&B near the metro station Falguière in Montparnasse area I went to the Bourdelle Museum on its reopening day. However I have been a little bit disappointed as some of the museum’s rooms were still closed. For that reason I recommend you to plan your visit from 1st April. Indeed on that date the temporary exhibition “Mannequin d’artiste, mannequin fétiche” is starting and the renovation should be ended and all the rooms reopened.
Who is Antoine Bourdelle ?
Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) is a famous French sculptor who moved from Montauban to Paris in 1884 in the artists’ area of Montparnasse. He founded with Auguste Rodin a free sculpture school in Montparnasse. Bourdelle gradually went off Rodin’s influence and created his own style. He was highly acclaimed by the public and by the critics in 1910 for one of his masterpieces : Heracles Archer, which is exhibited in the Museum.
Bourdelle was not only a sculptor but also a painter whose works were inspired by three muses. He married successively two of them : Stéphanie Van Parys and Cléopâtre Sevastos. He was also a teacher at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and some of his pupils became famous sculptors as well, for instance Alberto Giacometti.
What could I see ?
The Front Garden : On the street side the visit starts with a lovely sunny garden in which several monumental bronze scuptures which are among the most famous of the artist are exhibited. I have really enjoyed strolling in the garden itself or under the brick arcade which boarders the garden on two sides.
The Paintings’ Studio : This room is located in what used to be part of Bourdelle’s apartment and has a very intimist atmosphere with its wooden floor, purple walls, paintings and sculptures, and ancient furniture. One really has the feeling to enter Bourdelle’s private world while visiting this room.
The Inner Garden : On the back side the inner gardens are still under renovation and I could not enter them. I was only able to have a look and to admire the beautiful bronze sculpture of Bourdelle called Sapho.
The Plasters’ Hall : This huge hall gives onto the front garden. It is bright, with a high ceiling, a white marble floor and light stone walls and contrasts a lot with the Paintings’ Studio. There are exhibited several monumental plaster sculptures of Bourdelle. My favourite are Heracles Archer, Le Fruit and Sapho. One can see there also sculptures that Bourdelle made for major public buildings as the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris or the Opéra in Marseille.
What i was not able to see
The Portzamparc Wing, the Terrace and most of the rooms of Bourdelle’s Studio were still closed and I could not see the hundred or so sculptures, drawings, photographies etc. exhibited in them.
I promise that I will plan another visit of the Museum in the coming months and then write a new post about all the rooms I missed.
The entrance is free for the permanent collection (there is a charge only for the temporary exhibitions), the location in the heart of Montparnasse is very pleasant, and the atmosphere is unique as you see the works exactly where the artist used to live and work… and can really imagine him creating !
Practical information : Musée Bourdelle – 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle 75015 Paris
Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B – www.goodmorningparis.fr