I had never been particularly drawn to Moreau’s paintings, but here I was stunned by this encyclopedic collection of his creations archived in the apartment that was once his home and studio.
The ground floor visit gives a rather intimate insight into the artist’s life; through his living room and bedroom, no wall space has been wasted in this museum. In the corridor at the foot of the stairs, a monumental sketch of Oedipus and the Sphinx dominates from the floor to the ceiling and hints at what can be expected on the next floor.
The vast first and second floors are connected by a spiral staircase, which you will notice immediately as you surface from below. The studio walls are adorned with colossal canvases and easels stand proud, painted in a variety of medium and styles. I was enticed by the vibrant colours and exotic imagery (influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism), as well as the mind-blowing level of detail that is camouflaged until you get really close, such as in Le triomphe d’Alexandre le Grand and Les Chimères, which mesmerises me every time.
Now, for the most fascinating part of the museum – take a look underneath the windows of the studio and pull up one of the small stools in front of the closed curtains. Behind each miniature theatre await hundreds of original sketches including studies of nudes to animals sketched at our very own Jardin des Plantes. What a wonderfully intimate way to get to know Moreau’s works.