By the time Bourdelle died (1 October 1929), the studios on 16 and 18, impasse du Maine, where the artist had it permanent home, were repositories for hundreds of sketches and models, and thousands of drawings, archives and documents. Only the unshakeable faith and tenacity of his wife, Cléopâtre Bourdelle, and their daughter Rhodia, would bring to life the museum Bourdelle had dreamed of.

In 1930, the impasse was cut through and the house threatened with a compulsory purchase order. A generous donation from the patron Gabriel Cognacq made it possible to buy the land and prevent the collection being dispersed. In 1949, the support of the Director of Fine Arts, Yvon Bizardel, proved decisive : the City of Paris accepted the donation of the land, the studios, "some 800 sculptures, 200 paintings and pastels and 1000 drawings, cartoons and manuscripts."

The architect Henri Gautruche created a small exhibition gallery in the north of the inner garden. On 4 July of 1949, the Musée Bourdelle finally opened.