The Musee de la Vie Romantique, the Museum of Romantic Life, is located in what was the home of painter Ary Scheffer (1795-1858).
It is situated where once stood ancient religious buildings dedicated to St. Lazare. In 1792, this area became property of the State and was turned into a vast park.
In 1820, this park was divided into separate lots where mansions with gardens were built, Scheffer's house being one of them.
The Scheffer house was built in 1830 to which he added two studios and a fountain.
During the nearly 30 years that Scheffer lived here he was visited by the intellectuals and artists of Paris, especially Georges Sand, Fredrick Chopin, Franz Liszt and Charles Dickens when he was in town.
The neighborhood had such residents as Delacroix and Gericault. Georges Sand and Fredrick Chopin actually lived very nearby the Scheffer home. Scheffer also held exhibits here for painters who had been refused a showing by the Salon, such as Rousseau, Huet and Dupré.
Though Scheffer rented the building during his time here, the house was bought after his death by his daughter, Corneila. With her death in 1899, she bequeathed many of her father's works to his home town of Dordrecht, Holland. The house passed to the Scheffer family and was sold to the State in 1956 which established here a cultural institution. The house became a museum in 1983, dedicated to art and literature between 1820-1860.
The Museum of Romantic Life presents a diverse collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics and art objects and it is divided into 2 sections: the first floor is dedicated to Georges Sand; the second floor contains works of Ary Scheffer and other artists of his time.
Part of the George Sand exhibit is the re-creation of a room from her home in Nohant complete with her furniture, rugs, tapestries and wood-paneling.
Also on display is a plaster casting of her right fore-arm and a casting of Chopin's left hand. A handwritten manuscript of her last and uncompleted novel is displayed as well as portraits of her, her rings, necklaces, ear-rings, pins, brooches and handkerchiefs, a necklace she made for her daughter and even a sample of her hair.
There are also four works by Eugene Delacroix, two of them are drawings of the garden of Sands' home in Nohant. Recorded music by Chopin is usually being played in these rooms.
The Scheffer collection contains his paintings and drawings, photographs, art objects, sculptures, furniture and books. Among his paintings here is a portrait of the Princess of Joinville, painted in 1844.
The entrance to the Musee de la Vie Romantique is a long alley leading to the house. Scheffer's studio is used today for temporary exhibits of art. In the front courtyard is a Tea Room with a terrace, open during Spring and Summer months, and a bookstore is available.
The Museum of Romantic Life is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. It is closed on Monday and holidays.
Admission to the permanent exhibit is free. A fee is charged for visiting the frequent temporary exhibits, though free for those under 14 years of age.
Here is a page for other Free Museums in Paris.
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