Art & Culture

Parisian Musee Cognacq-Jay – the art in home-style

We continue our articles about interesting tourist places of the French capital, and this time it’s one museum, which is not considered to be famous, but may be interested for somebody.

The object of our attention is a small Parisian museum with a proud name Cognacq-Jay, located on rue Elzevir. There is no sense to compare this museum with famous Louvre or Pompidou Centre, but you’ll find many interesting items to see. Moreover, you will not have to wait for hours in long lines, if you do not have the Museum card.

Museum of Cognac-Jay is cozy and attractive place for real connoisseurs where more than a thousand exhibits relating to the French artists of the eighteenth century are collected. The collection of the museum (was opened in 1990), what occupies one of Parisian houses of King Henry II period, includes ceramics, paintings, sculptures, household goods of those distant years. Among many authors represented in Cognac-Jay we can mark out Chardin and Fragonard, whose paintings are represented here most widely.

The building (it can be called a medium-sized palace) of the museum was built by Mr. Mederic de Dodon – an accountant of the royal family, who also was a relative of famous Maria de Medici. This says that the first owner of the mansion was not the poorest nobleman of his time.

The decision to turn the mansion into a museum was made in Paris City Hall in the late eighties of the twentieth century to accommodate art collections of artists of the eighteenth century, which were bequeathed to the state by legendary founder of Parisian department store «La Samaritaine» Ernest Cognacq and his wife Marie-Louise Jay. Mr. Cognacq was a well-known philanthropist and patron of the arts, who had died in 1928.

Of course, collection of Ernest Cognacq is not so rich as collection of famous Frenchman Andre Jacquemart. But, nevertheless, collection of well-known merchant has its own distinctive features.

This collection contains approximately 1200 exhibits, and most of them are small-sized items, so you will need spend a long time to explore everything. In the halls of the museum there are not any meaningful patterns (like in large museums), but everything here is more mentally and simply. All the artists represented here are considered as distant relatives.

Besides Fragonard and Chardin, Musee Cognacq-Jay offers works by such recognized masters as Greuze, Boucher and Watteau.

A significant part of the exhibition is porcelain figurines, boxes for essences, toiletries, furniture with more than two centuries history. The museum even has a wooden table of famous Parisian socialite Madame de Pompadour.

Since the beginning of spring and to the end of September visitors of Musee Cognacq-Jay can visit a magnificent garden, located in the courtyard of the house.

Musee Cognacq-Jay is pleased to welcome guests all year round and it is located on 8, rue Elzevir.