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“Hidden Gem” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Musee Bourdelle

Musee Bourdelle
Ranked #134 of 1,088 things to do in Paris
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2014

One of our group happened to have worked with the grandson of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, which was how we came to visit Musee Bourdelle, 18 rue Antonine Bourdelle in the Montparnasse area. Bourdelle was a student of Rodin, and later opened his own studio. The musee is housed in his atelier, home and gardens, with additions designed by Portzamparc and Gautruche to house his work and models. Many of the pieces are displayed in the entry garden, and in the private garden behind the atelier. Having little expectation on entry, the sheer scale of the works grips one immediately, with the thought, "how have we not heard about this artist before?" quickly following. Many of Bourdelle's works were public monuments, hence larger than life - very much larger! The hall housing the plaster models dwarfs human beings, even those over 6 feet tall like the two men in our group. There is a very interesting and well-done video in the atelier showing how bronze castings are done. There was also a temporary exhibit (there until February 23, 2014) with photos and drawings of his family life. There is a small fee (6€) for the temporary exhibit, but entry is otherwise free. Although the musee appears very small from street level, once inside, there are many additional connected spaces that make it quite extensive. It is definitely worth the time to visit, and is relatively uncrowded, allowing for leisurely enjoyment of these stunning works.

Visited November 2013
Thank RIWine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
77 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Free Museum. Peaceful and Forceful.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 December 2013

This little gem of an obscure museum is dedicated to one of Rodin's students, Antoine Bourdelle. We enjoy this museum for several reasons: it is free (so we can dash in with just a little bit of time and not feel like we overpaid an entrance fee), it has a lovely seating area just inside the main entrance and at the back of the property (the peaceful part) and gigantic stone, bronze, and ceramic sculptures that are powerful and massive. Try the small Bistrot de l'Ovalie just down the street for lunch.

Visited September 2013
Thank wetravellight11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 October 2013

With a lot of great big sculptures, by a hugely talented artist. The place (which was the artist's atelier) is a revelation, and a delight to wander through. Antoine Bourdelle's "Herakles" has more power, tension and living breathing energy in it than any martial figure I've ever seen (in my admittedly limited experience). And Bourdelle's monumental (as in two stories high) Mary presenting her divine infant is probably the fiercest, least sappy Madonna and child ever sculpted. Plus which the sculpture garden is a wonderful place to chill. And if you check out the smaller galleries tracing his career, you'll discover how some of Bourdelle's long, slim later work strongly influenced one of his star pupils, Modigliani. Visiting this museum was the most enjoyable morning we spent in Paris.

Visited September 2013
3 Thank LosAngelesLenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Myers Beach
Level Contributor
51 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Musee Bourdelle has monumental offerings”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2013

The museum was the home and workshop of Antoine Bourdelle, a pioneer of 20th century monumental sculpture. “Monumental” here means, literally, HUGE in size, because his outdoor sculptures also functioned as monuments. Bourdelle (1861-1929) was an assistant to Auguste Rodin but eventually opened his own workshop and studio, where he lived and worked from 1884 on. Before his death, Bourdelle bequeathed his home and works to the City of Paris for a museum where his works could be displayed. Musee Bourdelle opened in 1949. In 1961, on the 100th anniversary of Bourdelle's birth, the Grand Hall was added, designed to display plaster casts of some of his most famous monumental figures.

Bourdelle used the front garden as an extension of his studio, where the bushes, trees and flowers provide a setting for the sculptures. The tall and massive horse for the monument to General Alvear is in the front garden, and under the arches on the terrace is Hercules the Archer, which depicts the sixth labor of Hercules, to destroy the birds of Lake Stymphalia with his bow.

The long narrow courtyard garden runs behind the museum. There is a scale model of the equestrian monument which depicts General Alvear, a hero from the Argentinian war of independence of 1814-1815. The monument is in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The bronze figure stands 16 feet high atop a pedestal nearly 43 feet tall, surrounded by four bronze allegorical figures, Strength, Eloquence, Freedom and Victory, representing Alvear’s qualities and achievements. (At first, I thought the four were warriors with no other significance.) Also in the garden is Le Centaur mourant (Dying Centaur), which has a mythological motif, as do many of Bourdelle’s works. He described it as, “…dying like all the gods, because no one believes in him anymore.”

This is a wonderful museum within a short walking distance of the Tour Montparnasse and the Gare Montparnasse. The gardens in front of and behind the museum are lovely, even though the “monumental” sculptures seem to overwhelm the space they are limited to. The loftiness of the Grand Hall is a more suitable setting for Bourdelle’s impressively-sized sculptures, and I’ve never seen the plaster cast sculptures of an artist’s work before. This kind of museum, displaying the work of a single artist, is my favorite kind of museum because it is the body of work of a single person; it takes its place among my favorites, along with the Rodin Museum and the Zadkine Museum. It is located at 18, rue Antoine Bourdelle in the 15th arrondissement and is open daily except Mondays from 10:00 AM - 6 :00 PM. Metro Montparnasse-Bienvenue. Access to the permanent collections is free. The web site is: www.bourdelle.paris.fr/en

Visited October 2012
1 Thank BeckyBooBird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dexter, Michigan
Level Contributor
370 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
“Absolutely great little museum”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 September 2013

More the you can imagine form the entry garden. If you like heroic sculpture of the late 19th century this is the place. The pieces on the front lawn don't speak to the material in the grand hall where many of his works are captured in their plaster ear;y versions. You can also view his work shop and a video about a current sculptor showing methods. There is a charming garden with much statuary in the back of the build. It was well worth our three mile hike to see this

Visited September 2013
1 Thank pen1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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