Born in 1861, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle was a prolific and influential French sculptor. Student of Rodin, teacher of Giacometti and Matisse, Bourdelle was one of the prominent figures of the transitional movement leading to modern sculpture.

In 1885, Bourdelle moved into a studio on Impasse du Maine – now Antoine Bourdelle Street – where he worked and lived until 1929.

As soon as the early 1920’s, Bourdelle considered the idea of creating a museum displaying his life’s work. Taking inspiration from Rodin, Bourdelle drew up several buildings plans in 1928, where every sculpture would have had its very own place.

Unfortunately, this dream museum would not come to life before Bourdelle’s death.

However, Gabriel Cognacq – the founder of the Parisian Samaritaine department store, funded in the early 1930’s the purchase of the studio in order to avoid the dispersion of the master’s works. The museum was opened in 1949, expanded in 1961 and a modern extension was added in 1992.

Nowadays, the Bourdelle museum offers a peaceful place where every sculpture is beautifully showcased.

The street gardens are enchanting and display the four sculptures of the Monument to Alvear General, proudly guarding the peristyle.

The apartment is a cosy room where Bourdelle rested.

The inner gardens are a peaceful heaven, punctuated by monumental sculptures.

As the very heart of the place, the studio remained untouched and everything relates to the master’s work: the high ceilings welcoming Bourdelle’s monumental sculptures, the mezzanine offering a different point of view on the sculptures, the Northern light cherished by artists, the large wooden table crafted by Bourdelle’s father – displaying the artworks, the diversity of materials.

The Dying Centaur is the proud and quiet witness of this studio.

Viril guard of the peristyle, the famous Héraklès archer sculpture is the perfect illustration of the master’s genius.

The Bourdelle museum is a great example of Parisian ateliers. The place is enchanting, really.

February 28, 2020

Bourdelle Museum