Museum with world's largest collection of Monet paintings relaunches to celebrate 80th anniversary

The best kept secret in Paris wants to be secret no longer

Paris

The Musée Marmottan-Monet, one of the unmissable artistic jewels of the French capital, is frequently missed by visitors and ignored by culture-sated Parisians.

And yet the private museum on the western edge of Paris has the world’s largest collection of paintings by Claude Monet, including “Impression, sunrise”, the canvas which gave The Impressionists their name.

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the museum will try to relaunch itself this week as an artistic destination in its own right, alongside its bigger, noisier sisters the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay or the Centre George Pompidou. The museum has assembled a startlingly beautiful, temporary exhibition of 115 Impressionist paintings from private collections around the world, in many cases unseen by the public for decades.

The Musée Marmottan has also completed an ambitious programme of renovation to give more space and a better display to its permanent collections, including 100 paintings, and 140 works in total, by Claude Monet.

The man behind the project to re-launch the Musée Marmottan is its new director, Patrick de Carolis, 60, once head of France’s state-owned television service and a presenter of a successful French TV series on cultural heritage.

“Many of our paintings are well known but the museum is less well known,” Mr de Carolis told The Independent. “We have to change that. We are private and entirely funded by the money we earn for ourselves. We hope that the exhibition, which starts this week will encourage people to come to the Marmottan.”

“We will also be advertising on television and in the cinema for the first time.” 

 From Thursday until 6 July, the Musée Marmottan-Monet will host “Les Impressionistes en Privé” (The Impressionists in Private), one of the largest ever exhibitions of privately-owned works by Impressionist and pre-Impressionist artists. The Independent was given a sneak preview on Monday.

Monets and Pissarros, still out of their frames, were propped up in corners or placed on tables waiting to take their places in the exhibition. Even unfinished, the show was a self-evident winner. It is likely to be one of the most talked about, and visited, cultural events in Paris this year.

Marianne Mathieu, deputy director of the Marmottan and joint curator of the exhibition, said: “Almost all of these paintings have rarely, if ever, been seen in public for many decades. They come from 51 private collections, half of them in France, half in the rest of the world - in the United States or Britain or Belgium or Mexico.”

“We have tried to give a spread of works which illustrate the most important stages in the development of Impressionism.”

The exhibition includes a painting by the pre-impressionist artist Eugène Boudin - “Benerville la Plage” – which comes from a private collection in California. It has not been seen in public since the 1930s. There is also a Monet - “Sur les planches de Trouville” - which has only been seen once in public for more than a century.

The Petit salon in the Musée Marmottan Monet The Petit salon in the Musée Marmottan Monet (Musée Marmottan Monet) There are also paintings by, amongst others, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Berthe Morisot (who is represented at the Marmottan by a large permanent collection, which has just moved into spacious new rooms). The ownership of the paintings on loan is, in many cases, secret.

“The Marmottan is entirely founded on bequests from private collections, including many paintings given by Claude Monet’s son Michel,” Mr de Carolis said. “We intend this exhibition to be, in part, a celebration of the importance, and the influence and the passion of the private collector.”

He also plans to make the Marmottan part of a global network of private museums, which will loan each other works and share exhibitions. The museum is already working on an exhibition, to start on 18 September, which will celebrate the 170 birthday of its most famous, permanent resident, Monet’s “Impression, sunrise.”

Vue de Bazincourt by Camille Pissarro Vue de Bazincourt by Camille Pissarro The canvas, first sold in 1874, portrays a glowing, misty sky over an industrial skyline in Le Havre. At various points, Monet described it as a “sunset”; at other times a “sunrise”. The location is believed to have been destroyed when the RAF bombed Le Havre in 1944.

So what was the scene which defined Impressionism? Morning or evening? The Marmottan will begin detective-work in Le Havre this week to try to answer the question once and for all.

Does it also need careful detective-work to find the Musee Marmottan? Not at all.

The museum is a former hunting lodge on the fringes of the Bois de Boulogne, rebuilt as a mansion in the late 19th century. It stands beside the Ranelagh gardens in the upmarket 16 arrondissement, five minutes’ walk from La Muette Metro station on line nine, only a few stops from the Champs Elysées.

In the celebrated words of the Michelin Guide, it is “worth a detour”.

Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice