30.11.09

The Montmartre Museum - to be closed?


I was alerted that there is a threat that the Montmartre Museum could be closed; the City of Paris has indicated that they would withdraw their annual subsidy. This was a good reason to revisit it!

The Museum has been in operation for some 50 years and has its home in the oldest remaining buildings on Montmartre, originally inhabited by “Rosimund”, who succeeded Molière in the Royal troop of comedians. During the 19th century the place was transformed and was occupied by a number of famous artists: Auguste Renoir, Suzanne Valadon, Maurice Utrillo ...

The place was later more or less abandoned, but saved and transformed into a museum.

The museum is situated close to and overlooks the Montmartre vineyard (see previous post), the St. Vincent park (see previous post), the St. Vincent cemetery (see previous post) and the cabaret “Lapin Agile” (see previous post).




Here you can see what it looks like, outside – including a sculpture (by Charles Delporte) and the last (?) rose of the year ...


... and inside. There are many interesting documents to be seen and of course a number of paintings, gravures... of the different artists who have occupied the place. You can e.g. find Utrillo’s easel and some Valadon and Utrillo paintings, some Toulouse-Lautrec posters...
As mentioned, Auguste Renoir had a studio and painted here e.g. “Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette” (1876), “The Swing” (1876), painted in the garden, “Dance in the City” (1883) and “Dance at Bougival” (1883), the two latter having Suzanne Valadon as model, then 18 years old. She was probably then pregnant as her son, Maurice Utrillo, was born later that year, father unknown (possibly Renoir?). You may see the restaurant where Renoir painted “Dance at Bougival” in one of my previous posts.
Below you can see Suzanne a few years later (1888), “Hangover”, painted by Toulouse-Lautrec and some of her own paintings from the garden, “Nudes” (1919) and “Garden” (1928).

Suzanne made this portrait of her son in 1921, he was then 38. Maurice was very productive and painted several times the nearby cabaret “Lapin Agile”. One painting is of the house where he then lived, now the museum. Maurice Utrillo is buried just downhill, at the St. Vincent cemetery.
In the museum you can find the original of a painting from 1875, by the caricaturist André Gill, representing a rabbit jumping out of a saucepan, made to decorate the wall of this small cabaret and restaurant, which is how it got its name “Le Lapin à Gill” (“Gill’s Rabbit”). With the time the name was transformed to “Lapin Agile” (“Nimble Rabbit”). If you check one of my previous posts, you can read about the number of later famous artists who have performed here and also about all celebrities who have attended. You can see (the copy of) this painting under the leaves.

One of the paintings in the museum is by Adolphe Wilette, “Parce Domine” (1884). It was made to decorate a then famous cabaret “Le Chat Noir”, where “all” artists met those days. Wilette was also in charge of the original decoration of “Moulin Rouge”, including the design of the red mill on top. (If you are interested you can read about the story behind the name “Moulin Rouge" in some of my previous posts, e.g. here, here and here.)
Another painter who worked here was Raoul Dufy. This painting is obviously one of his last, from 1953.






At last I wish to mention Fransique Poulbot, who also worked here, famous for his illustrations of Montmartre children, now known as “poulbots” and widely copied - and falsified. You can also read more about this in a previous post.

Now, don’t we wish this museum to be saved? If you agree, you can sign a petition here!

56 comments:

Virginia said...

Well absolutely I'll sign that petition because you and I've walked right past that musée twice and I've not begged to go inside. Now I'm full of regret! Lapin Agile, oh I have a few photos that I'm still holding tightly in my hand. I'll share soon and link here of course!! Thanks for the warning Peter. You keep us all on our toes! :)
V

Owen said...

What an incredible post Peter ! You are amazing... what patience you must have to string these together, I know how long it takes to get the page layout right in Blogger... Have not been inside this place, though like Virginia I've been by it more than once. Will have to go look... thanks so much for your reporting !

Am off to sign the petition...

Thérèse said...

Oh! One more museum in difficulty. I never went inside... and hope to see it one day. This post is an excellent idea.

Karen said...

I'm another who didn't make it inside so just in case it does close, thank you for your post, pictures and history. I did sign the petition but don't know if it will count since I am a "foreigner"..

alice said...

J'admire le travail de documentation que ce post t'a demandé... Je vais signer la pétition mais je ne serais pas étonnée que cet endroit délicieux suscite la convoitise de beaucoup...

hpy said...

Tu as du passer du temps à vérifier tes connaissances sur ce post. Il est plusq ue complet. (Je signe, moi aussi.)

Olivier said...

voila une autre signature sur la pétition..Vraiment Montmartre est un endroit spécial de Paris, un vrai village, c'est agréable de faire des ballades dans ce coin. Superbe ton post, je n'ose imaginer le temps que tu as passe dessus

SusuPetal said...

I didn't know of this museum! Thank you for introducing, Peter.

Let's save it.

Cergie said...

Ce musée qui n'est pas loin de chez toi est quasi dans ton jardin. En tout cas un coin que tu connais sur le bout des doigts. Tu te souviens que j'ai posté sur un château où Maurice Utrillo et sa mère ont vêcu. Il y allait parce qu'il était indésirable à Montmartre (insupportable lorsqu'il avait trop bu). Miguel Utrillo a reconnu Maurice dont il n'était probblement par le père

Adam said...

Wow, what an amazing post Peter. You really are an expert on Montmartre! I should sign this petition because - to my shame - I have never actually been to this museum! Is that perhaps part of the problems it is currently suffering?

In a similar manner to the 104 that the city of Paris is struggling with, how far should subventions go, and how much should survival be down to actual entrance paying visitors?

Bagman and Butler said...

Great post as usual. I always look up your posts because they are more interesting than any travel publication anywhere!

ALAIN said...

Si je comprends bien, c'est un musée qui risque d'être bientôt au musée des musées.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I appreciate you comment on my blog about the artwork done by artists using the computer program, Corel Draw. I have tried to do it but failed. I admire those people who can do it.

I enjoyed your post about the Montartre Musee of Montmartre, Paris. It must have taken a fortnight to finish as there is so much information in it.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Oh! Paris! Paris! Beauty and Culture all around!

Neva said...

I very much agree with Owen,The time involved getting pictures to lay right in Blogger is very time consuming. A nice post as usual.....Many of the art work you show are found in poster shops.

Starman said...

Since it now appears that we'll be in Paris for Christmas, we'll have to stop in and check it out.

JPD said...

Thank you for this great post Peter. You should be made "citoyen d'honneur" of Montmartre !
JPD

Claudia said...

Wonderful post, packed with goodies. Truly enjoyed it. I'm off to sign the petition now. Have a great week, Peter.

JM said...

I've signed the petition, I can't believe this is about to be closed!...

Shionge said...

Gosh...such a pity to close it and yep, I'll sign it for sure.

Ruth said...

It's a bit of a shock to think of Paris closing anything of this caliber. I'll sign, and I also wish I had been inside.

The massive amount of work for this post is a huge reward for your readers, Peter. Just splendid.

Marie-Noyale said...

You really should start a tour guide of Paris.
You find out all these wonderful places.

Hope they accept foreign signatures!

BLOGitse said...

wow, what a blog I found here! via SusuPetal and your comment on her blog...
Thanks for sharing this beautiful posting!
I'll be back - have a great day! :)

krystyna said...

Great job, Peter!!!
Lot of interesting informations.
Really this museum is a Special place!
I'm going to sign.

Cezar and Léia said...

A museum closed is also a pity...I hope people can help it!
Magnificent treasures!
Thanks a lot for this post, and now I will enjoy every detail in your pictures!
Hugs
Léia

Emm said...

Oh wow - that would be such a loss!

Tanya said...

Oh it would be a shame to close this wonderful museum...thank you for the tour and the informational post! Now off to sign the petition :)

La Belette Rouge said...

Le sigh! So sad. I will run over and sign the petition. Thanks for letting us know.

La Belette Rouge said...

Le sigh! So sad. I will run over and sign the petition. Thanks for letting us know.

GMG said...

It's incredible, but it happens... If there isn't a wide move to save it, financial reasons will prevail and the museum will be gone!! Sad story...

Alors, «à Gil» = «agile»? Ça se comprend facilement... Mais peut-être ça serait plutôt mieux comme «expert», «intelligent», «sagace», «clairvoyant», «lumineux», «brillant»... Outrageusement trop pour un lapin!! ;)

Jeanie said...

Peter, Peter, Peter, where have you been all my life? Oh, my first trip to Paris was this summer and now I soak it up like crazy! Consider yourself bookmarked! (I come from Ruth's!)

Peter said...

Virginia:
I guess the museum will be still around, when you come next time, soon! :-)

Owen:
Yes, it took some time to make this one, but I thought it was worth it! :-)

Thérèse:
Let't try to go together next time you are in Paris (hoping that the museum is still there)! :-)

Peter said...

Karen:
I'm sure that "foreigners" count! (I'm another one!) :-)

Alice:
C'est clair qu'on essaye de "rentabiliser" l'endroit au maximum! :-)

hpy:
Oui... et merci! :-)

Peter said...

Olivier:
Un bon moment, en effet, mais je pense que ça valait la peine! :-)

SusuPetal:
I hope you didn't learn about it too late! :-)

Cergie:
Oui, il était sans doute insupportable et un peu fou. Je pensai que c'était avec sa femme qu'il avait déménagé. :-)

Peter said...

Adam:
They seem to have some 500.000 visitors per year - could be more of course, but maybe there have also been some management problems. ? :-)

Bagman & Butler:
Nice if you think so! I do my best! :-)

Alain:
J'ai bien peur! :-)

Peter said...

Abraham:
Not a fortnight, but, yes, a few hours! :-)

Sonia:
Yes, and you have not yet visited! Please come! :-)

Neva:
Yes, of course you can find posters by these artists all around! To have an original would be interesting! :-)

Peter said...

Starman:
Happy to see that the decision is taken! Hope to meet you! :-)

JPD:
I wonder what they are waiting for! :-)

Claudia:
Happy you enjoyed it and a nice week to you as well! :-)

Peter said...

JM:
Thanks! Hopefully the last word is not said! :-)

Shionge:
One more signature, nice! :-)

Ruth:
Thanks for signing and thanks for your compliments! :-)

Peter said...

Marie-Noyale:
Are you a foreigner in France? I am! :-)

BLOGitse:
Thanks for comeing here and welcome back! :-)

Krystyna:
Thanks for another signature! :-)

Peter said...

Léia:
Happy if there are things of interest to you! :-)

Emm:
Indeed! :-)

Tanya:
Happy to see that my post have brought a number of additional signatures! Happy also to see you back here! :-)

Peter said...

La Balette Rouge:
One more! Fine! :-)

GMG:
Let's see! Hopefully it is just a threat, maybe a new management... ?
Yes, you can translate "agile" differently, but I took the one which appears on the cabaret's official website.

Jeanie:
Great thanks and hugs to Ruth then! :-)

Kate said...

Thanks for the tour! And, I will sign the petition!

Peter said...

Kate:
Thanks, on behalf of the museum!

Maya said...

All the shots of art are wonderful. Too bad they are closing the museum!

Peter said...

Maya:
Let's still hope that they will not close! :-)

Bev said...

Love your pics and commentary! I have not yet had the pleasure of making a trip to Europe...but I dream of the day that I can enjoy Paris. For now, I will live vicariously thru your posts and love Paris from afar! Thanks!

Peter said...

Bev:
Hope your dreams will come true soon! In the meantime, you are most welcome here! :-)

GMG said...

Peter, I was playing with «à» (la façon de) Gil... (you know a guy with that name?) ;))

Peter said...

GMG:
OK! :-)) ... and no, no Gil, maybe a Gilbert!

arabesque said...

no! i haven;t even been to paris yet! ^0^
i hope they don;t close this down... if they do, which is inevitable, i hope it would be a museum that;s better than this.
any museum that is about to close is always worth saving...

Peter said...

Arabesque:
I trust you have Paris in your travel plans! :-)

GMG said...

Gilbert is my father... ;))

Peter said...

GMG:
Gilberto? :-)

catherine said...

j'ai signé !

Peter said...

Catherine:
Bien!! :-)

ParisBreakfasts said...

I signed.
I hope it will still be there in April!!
ouch