The museum of decorative arts, Paris!

Here we are cruising on a nice sunny week in my neck of the woods ,we have 14C sunny weather here and 10C semi cloudy.. in Paris oh well. As I am into museum posting let me tell you about another dandy.

Shamely , I have to tell you my dear readers, have not been to this museum. Too many and not enough time lol! Shame again as I am friend of the Louvre next door but with the jardin des Tuileries and the other two museums around (orangery and paume), never had the time to go inside this one. Even if worked nearby for several years!!! Oh well, can’t seen them all, time, I have time yes patient in France patient is a virtue when so much to see.

Anyway, let me tell you on it as it will give me inspiration to go and maybe convince you to do the same. From my book library and the tourist office of Paris, here I go.

the musée des Arts décoratifs or Museum of Decorative Arts is a museum that aims at the valorization of applied Fine Arts and the development of links between industry and culture, creation and production. It retains one of the most important collections of decorative arts in the world. The museum was inaugurated on 29 May 1905 in the wing of Marsan (that was part of the Palais des Tuileries) at the Louvre. It is part of the wider ensemble of the private Decorative Arts Association, founded in 1882, which is a French cultural institution bringing together museums, places of teaching and library around the art of living, decorative arts, design, fashion and textiles, advertising and graphics.


You come here on the metro Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7), Tuileries(line 1), Pyramides(lines 7 and 14) or by Bus lines : 21, 27, 39, 48, 68, 72, 81,and 95.

The museum was profoundly remodeled in 1996, during the project of the Grand Louvre, with the definitive installation of the Museum of Fashion and Textiles for its reopening in January 1997. The advertising museum was added to the ensemble in November 1999.

The various collections of the museum include about 150 000 objects of which 6 000 are presented to the public. They are divided into five chronological departments (Middle Ages-Renaissance, 17-18-19C, Art Nouveau-Art Deco, Modern-Contemporary) and in seven thematic departments (graphic arts, jewelry, toys, wallpapers, glass, fashion and textiles, advertising and graphic design) to draw a chronological path of the evolution of artistic production in all its aspects in decorative arts from the Middle Ages to contemporary designs of today.

The collection of paintings, distributed throughout the chronological course of the collections, covers the period from the 13C to the 20C with many Spanish, Italian and Flemish Gothic panels as well as works by French painters.

Middle Ages/Renaissance (rooms 2 to 9) This department covers a period of 400 years from the 12C to the 16C. The collection includes more than 3 600 works.

17-18C (rooms 10 to 30) in the origins of the museum, this department was a group of works with encyclopedic vocation. With today nearly 20 000 works, these offer a nearly complete panorama of the decorative arts of the time. About 1 500 works are presented in the galleries, where some period scenes are reconstructed.

19C (rooms 31 to 42) This department has a little more than 9200 works of which more than 800 are exhibited in 13 rooms alternating interior evocations, showcases and period scenes. Among the 450 pieces of furniture stand out from the complete sets of Empire and restoration era, Royal furniture deposited by the National furniture depot, and exceptional furniture from the industry or universal exhibitions. The collections also include more than 2 200 ceramics, from Sèvres, Paris or Limoges. About 950 pieces of goldsmith make it possible to admire the productions of the manufactures Odiot and Christofe, such as the monumental “especially of the Hundred utensils” of Napoleon III.  More than three hundred paintings and more than five hundred sculptures enrich the department’s Fund.

Art nouveau / Art déco (rooms 43 à 53). This ensemble comprises more than 6 660 works representing all the currents of decorative arts, with their major representatives.

Modern and Contemporary (rooms 54 à 67) The period begins with the International Exhibition of Arts and Technology of 1937, and continues until the current period. Its collections unfold on 5 levels in the Pavillon de Marsan .

Thematic departments:

Graphic Arts. It consists of some 150 000 drawings covering a period from the 16C to the 21C.

Galerie de Bijoux (Jewelry Gallery). The museum’s Jewelry gallery consists of 4 000 pieces ranging from antiquity to modern times and of which about 1 200 are exhibited. This is the most important collection of jewelry in the French collections The course is chronological and offers a panorama of the jewelry and its history from the Middle Ages up to the contemporary period.

Department of Wallpapers (papier peint). This department, created in 1967, houses 400 000 works representing more than three centuries of creation.

Glass (Verre). The collection comprises more than 5 000 glass objects from the 14C to the present day. Famous creators such as, Baccarat, Saint Louis, Tiffany, Gallé and Daum are presented, in what constitutes the richest and most varied ensemble in France.

Toy Gallery (jouets) .The museum’s toy collection, built from 1905, now has more than 12 000 games and toys dating from the mid-19C to the present day.

Fashion and Textiles . In 1905, the Museum of Decorative Arts has an important textile collection (silks, embroidery, lace, printed canvas), enriched from 1948 thanks to the competition of the French Union of Costume Arts (UFAC).  Estimated today at more than 60 200 works, the collection consists of costumes, accessories, textiles as well as important photographic and graphic art funds. In 1981, an agreement sealed the alliance of these two collections, giving birth to the museum of Fashion Arts in 1986. Renamed the Museum of Fashion and Textiles in 1997 and then integrated into the Museum of Decorative Arts, the collection has more than 152 800 works including costumes, accessories and textiles from the 3C to the present day, presented on 1 500 m2. The names of the greatest creators are brought together, from Paul Poiret to Popy Moreni, from Madeleine Vionnet to Christian Lacroix, from Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent.

Advertising and Graphic Designs. The first posters entered the collections at the beginning of the 20C. A posters department is created in 1972 then, a poster museum is officially created in 1978. Installed at Rue de Paradis in 1981, it became an advertising museum, before reopening in 1999 at 107 rue de Rivoli, in the converted galleries of Jean Nouvel.  In addition to the poster fund, which has about 100 000 posters, the collections have been enriched with advertising films, press announcements, radio spots, and promotional items.

At the musée des Arts Décoratifs only 20% of the works possessed by the museum are exhibited. The remainder is stored on reserves, formerly located in the deep underground of the museums. However, in the face of the risk of flooding of the Seine river,  and flooding the basements, it was decided that these reserves must be moved to a safe place. Huge, extremely secure warehouses are used to store unexposed works. Some works remain stored under buildings for several reasons, including works awaiting renovation or transit, or alternative works and objects and furniture useful to expose the works. Very secure, the climate of the reserves is constantly controlled (constant temperature, 70% humidity) to avoid deterioration of the works.

There is a good restaurant from what I hear from friends there: A wonderful noted restaurant ,not tasted yet by yours truly. Restaurant Loulou 107, rue de Rivoli :

An interesting library with lots of souvenirs to had and take home:

Arteum and 107Rivoli (boutique of the museum)  have a selection of products inspired from the collections in the  Musée des Arts Décoratifs, as well as exclusive creations for sale. More info here: Boutique store of the museum decorative arts

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official decorative arts museum

tourist office of Paris on the decorative arts museum

And again, one popular pass used by many , that I always said, if planning to see 3 or more museums it is worth it. The Paris Museum Pass; more here: Paris museum pass on the decorative arts museum

There you go more of Paris and we need to see more, lots more, Paris is eternal so we have time lol!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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