Bourdelle dans l'atelier de peinture vers 1897 © Musée Bourdelle / Roger Viollet /(c) Benoit Fougeirol


Like Bourdelle’s first sculpture studio – now the focal point of the museum – the painting studio offers a unique insight into the artist’s inner world. Research carried out using the museum’s collection of old photographs has helped us to work out the original layout of the painting studio, where, surrounded by bric-a-brac hunted down from second-hand dealers, Bourdelle would show his latest works – sculptures and paintings – to visitors and potential buyers. In the studio, Bourdelle’s own works hung alongside pieces from his private collection of paintings and antique terracotta sculptures unearthed in antique shops.
It is the poetic import of these relics that we wanted to convey to visitors when inviting them to discover the intimacy of the painting studio. Work to restore the studio was therefore carried out throughout 2014.
The pieces of furniture – including the couch where Bourdelle liked to lie down, the fall front secretaire where he wrote and the chest of drawers where he stored his pastels – have been dusted while still preserving the patina of age. Bourdelle’s collection of antique terracotta sculptures has been studied and restored and is now exhibited in an old glass-fronted cabinet, just as it was originally.
The picture rails in the studio are once more hung with works. Bourdelle’s favourite paintings – an 18th century overdoor and a portrait of a woman attributed to Amaury Duval Hippolyte Flandrin – have been restored and now hang alongside eight some of Bourdelle’s own oil paintings of close friends, family and his two wives.
Now that the wall hangings have been taken down, the walls have regained their muted colours. The soft furnishings curtains have been replaced with a selection of fabrics that complement the faded tones. Preference has been given to indirect sources of light to better recreate the intimate feel of the room. The windows once again look out over the gardens.
The restoration of the painting studio serves as a vital foil to the poetic geography of the museum-studio and creates a greater cohesion within the newly designed permanent collections. It forms part of the Musée Bourdelle’s study of the life and work that went on in the artist’s studio – a place for putting down roots, passing on knowledge and ideas and creating ‘at home’.

Curators :
Amélie Simier, conservateur en chef du Patrimoine, directrice

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