I’ve been to this museum before. The building itself was built by Edouard André, from a Protestant banking family and he devoted his fortune to buying works of art. His mansion was completed in 1875. He wife, Nélie Jacquemart, an artist herself, bequeathed it and its collections to the Institut de France as a museum and it opened to the public in 1913. It’s full of paintings by Italian artists such as Bellini. The reason I made my return visit to this museum was to see a Rembrandt exhibition. As most know, he was a Dutch painter and is considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art. He lived and created in what is called the Dutch Golden Age. He did many self portraits, life like and without personal vanity, some of which were on exhibit here in the museum. There were also Biblical scenes and examples of his etching. He was considered a master of etching in his lifetime, the greatest in fact. Few of his paintings ever left the Dutch Republic while he lived but his prints were circulated all over Europe and his popularity was based on them alone for years. I’m a fan of his paintings myself and have seen The Night Watch and it was just breathtaking. His paintings glow somehow, and there is such powerful work with light and shadow. I read that he never used blue or green in his paintings and, when I think about it, all I remember are browns, blacks and ochre. In his personal life, although he made quite a bit of money, he didn’t handle it well and was always in debt. When he died he was buried in an unmarked grave reserved for the poor if you can imagine that. I went early on a weekend morning hoping to avoid crowds but had to fight my way past people and groups having tours with a guide. I don’t enjoy looking at exhibits this way but enjoyed seeing Rembrandt’s works nontheless. If I had had a dust cloth with me and no guards watching, I would have given some of the frames a good dusting. I couldn’t believe they weren’t cleaned before the showing. I didn’t get any photos of the exhibit. I was good and didn’t even try to sneak one in.
A look at one of the walls leading into another room, rather palatial. The architect, Henri Parent, came in second to Garnier in a contest to build the Paris Opera House, so went all out in this mansion to show what he could do.
This is called the Winter Garden and is considered the most lovely area in the mansion. It was designed in the period of Napoleon III in which there was a characteristic art of entertaining. It was an area women came to cool down and relax a bit when the other rooms got too crowded and hot. This creative design idea was copied from England which consisted of arranging pots of plants, many exotic, under a glass roof. It leads to a really lovely staircase.
A look through a window at a bit of the exterior architecture. The mansion is found on Haussman avenue in Haussmann’s redesigned Paris, an area once full of mansions and elegant living. The museum also has a very nice restaurant but I have never eaten there as there is always a line waiting to get in.