The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen is a large museum focusing on European art. Indeed, the museum asserts that “it features paintings, sculptures, drawings and objets d'art from every school, ranging from the 15th century to the present day.” The museum is located in the center of Rouen not far from landmarks such as Rouen Cathedral and the site of Jean d'Arc's exceution.
Rouen's public art collection began to be assembled in 1790 composed largely of works dispossed from the aristocracy and the church during the French Recolution. In 1801, Napoleon offically created the museum.
At first, the museum was housed in a Jesuit church but it was soon moved to the City Hall. However, the museum grew exponentially and by the 1870s it was clear that it would need larger quarters. Therefore architect Louis Sauvageot was commissioned to design a new building. Completed in 1888, it remains the museum's home today. It underwent a major refurbishment in the 1990s.
As one might well expect from a museum located in the heart of Impressionist country, the museum has a substantial collection of works by the Impressionist masters including Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Caillebotte, Sisley and Degas. These include one of Monet's study's of nearby Rouen cathedral. Another Impressionist highlight is Monet's “Rue St. Denis.”
The museum also has examples of works by earlier 19th century French painters including Ingres, Corot, and David. Indeed, Delacroix earmarked his “The Justice of Trajan” for the Rouen museum.
But the museum is not just about 19th century French painting. Through gifts, purchases and the acquisitive reach of Napoleon's army, the permanent collection includes works by other European artists including Veronese, Van Dyck, Tiepolo and Rubens. Velazquez' masterpiece “The Man with a Globe” (or “Democritus”) hangs at Rouen.
The collection also includes modern and contemporary art. These include works by Modigliani, Dufy and the Duchamp brothers.
In addition to paintings, the collection covers sculpture and the decorative arts. Rouen also has an extensive collection of some 8,000 drawings.
Rouen also has temporary exhibitions.
For information about visiting, see the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen's website.
For more places to see art
See our Places to See Art index
For more on traveling to Northern France
See our Northern France home page
The Museum's Impressionist collection includes several works by Monet including "St. Denis" (above) and "Rouen Cathedral" (below).
Places to see art - - Rouen, France - - Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen