18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle
Phone: +33 1 49 54 73 73
Fax: +33 1 45 44 21 65

Musée Bourdelle

The story of the museum

In 1885, shortly after his arrival in Paris, Antoine Bourdelle took up residence at 16 Impasse du Maine in Montparnasse, a part of the city where countless painters and sculptors had their studios. Towards the end of his life, Bourdelle, now famous, envisaged creating a museum to house his entire oeuvre, as his illustrious senior Rodin had done. After his death in 1929, the sculptor's widow Cléopâtre, daughter Rhodia and son-in-law Michel Dufet worked tirelessly to ensure his life’s work would at last be recognized and displayed in a setting worthy of his name.
The Impasse du Maine was renamed Rue Antoine Bourdelle, and after various plans were abandoned or found to be too problematic, Cléopâtre Bourdelle, aided by Gabriel Cognac, bequeathed a large part of her collection to the City of Paris for a museum of her husband’s work. The Musée Bourdelle was opened on 4 July 1949. Built around two original studios, it preserves all the atmosphere of a setting dedicated to the sculptor’s memory.
With some of the monumental sculptures beginning to deteriorate, an extra building was needed to protect them and show them off to advantage. In 1961 architect Henri Gautruche built the great hall of plaster casts and an arcade in Montauban brick – symbolizing Bourdelle’s birthplace – to link the great hall with the studios. In 1992 the museum was further extended by Christian de Portzamparc. Providing both exhibition space and modern technical facilities (conservation, documentation, graphic art room, storerooms), the new extension completed the process of building a prestigious museum around the simple studio where t... [ Read all ]

 Permanent Collection Highlights (3)

 Click on the images to enlarge

Permanent Collection

Major works and international recognition

Following several trips abroad and a one-man show in Prague (1909), Bourdelle was widely praised for his Heracles the Archer (1909), the piece which revealed him as one of the key artists of the Modern movement and brought him fame and widespread recognition. Bourdelle began teaching at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where his pupils would include Giacometti, Vieira da Silva and Richier.
In 1913 the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées opened. Bourdelle, doubling as an architect, had helped to draw up the plans and produced some of the interior frescoes, but his main contribution to this showcase of Modernism was the imposing sculpted marble decoration of its façade. While several of his major works – Fruit (1902-1911), Penelope (1905-1912) or Dying Centaur (1911-1914) – were now on display in prestigious foreign museums, France still seemed reluctant to wholeheartedly acknowledge Bourdelle's genius. He completed several monumental commissions, such as the Monument to General Alvear (1913-1923), Virgin with Offering (1922) or France (1925), but it was not until 1929 – the year of his death – that Bourdelle would at last be formally recognized in his own country, with his Monument to Adam Mickiewicz, which today stands on the Cours Albert 1er in Paris. Bourdelle passed on to his contemporaries a modern vocabulary and a singular formal grammar – inspired by Archaic Greek and medieval art and governed by an expressionistic and synthetic modification of traditional aesthetic canons – which breathed these all-important words: "Contain, maintain, control – these are the orders of builders".

Layout of the museum
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26 January – 3 June 2007

Born in an Armenian family in Istanbul, Sarkis has been living and working in Paris since 1964. At the core of his oeuvre are memory, interpretation and tradition. In their dialogue with time and space his installations – including painting, sculpture, film, sound and music – bring together randomly collected objects, works of art and artefacts drenched in history. Site-specific yet autonomous, they offer a meticulously arranged presentation of their various components.

In this encounter with the Musée Bourdelle, Sarkis has chosen specific spaces for a group of works being shown for the first time. This time, however, he has abandoned his “treasure chest

Previous Exhibitions


7 July – 26 November 2006

Since the late 1980s Laurent Pariente has been working at the frontiers of painting, sculpture and architecture, from his first engraved plaques of zinc, which began his exploration of the role of the wall, to the chalk-covered structures he is making today. His ephemeral constructions are built in symbiotic relation to their host structures, so that it is impossible to gain an overall vision of them. Consisting of tall, open panels, his structures densely structure the space, dividing it up and inspiring an acute consciousness of place.

For his first exhibition in a Parisian museum, Pariente is presenting a set of works never shown before, comprising a construction, a selection of engraved metal plaques and self-portraits either engraved on aluminium or done in graphite on paper.

The construction created specially for the museum occupies the sequence of rooms at the centre of the buildings, formed by the old studios. Based on a simple geometrical module, which it reproduces and juxtaposes up to the limits of its confining space, this construction is ordered into an oblique network of cells, passages and corridors with alternating ceilings and light wells. Portraits, busts and masks by Bourdelle mark out this itinerary to be defined by the user. This disorients the visitor, presenting a series of choices of thresholds to cross in this white environment where light plays across the chalky surfaces.

A set of aluminium plaques with drypoint engravings is presented in the rooms next to the hall of plasters. While growing out of the earlier series, these plaques are
distinguished by their red, grey, blue or g...+ [ Read all ]


Access to the permanent collection is free.
Temporary Exhibitions :
Individual Entry
6.00 euros full price
4.50 euros concessions
3 euros for 14-26 year olds
free to under 14 year olds
Group Entry
4.50 euros per person for adults
3 euros for 14-26 year olds
Concessions: disabled visitors and persons accompanying them, Paris-Famille card holders, large families, teachers, employees of the Centres de Loisirs de la Ville de Paris, the unemployed, over 60s

Opening hours

Open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays
The Document Library is open only with prior booking (tel: 01 49 54 73 78).

Getting there

By Bus : routes 28, 48, 58 , 88, 91, 92, 94, 95 and 96
By Métro : Stations Montparnasse - Bienvenue / Falguière


Bilingual explanatory panels
Catalogues of the permanent Bourdelle collection and the temporary exhibitions on sale

Museum internal and external photos (3)

Click on the images to enlarge


One Thursday a month, at 12pm, a chosen work is presented and discussed at a visit-conference. No reservation needed. Duration 1 hour.
One Tuesday and one Thursday a month, at 12 pm, a visit-conference of the exhibition is proposed. No reservation needed. Duration 1 hour.
Tactile Visits are organised, with priority given to visitors with impaired vision. Reservation must be made. Duration 1 hour 30.
Line and Form : Sculpture workshop. Friday at 4 pm or Sunday at 10.30 pm. Reservation must be made. Duration 2 hours.
Visit / Conference at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Reservation must be made. Duration 1 hour 30 mins.
Tel : 01 49 54 73 91/92 Fax: 01 45 44 21 65


Storytelling session, one Sunday a month at 3.30 pm. No reservation needed. Duration 1 hour. Children aged 4 and over.


Sculpture workshops over 9 sessions of 1 hour 30 mins. Reservation must be made. Age groups of 4-6 year olds and 7-11 year olds.

During holidays, sculpture workshops over 4 sessions (from Thursday to Friday). Reservation must be made. Age groups of 4-6 year olds and 7 – 11 year olds.
Tel : 01 49 54 73 91/92 Fax: 01 45 44 21 65

Venue hire

The plaster sculpture room (Great Hall) is available for hire for receptions / dinners / cocktail parties.

It measures 550 m², and has a capacity for 120-130 people seated, or 250-300 persons standing.
Two small annexe rooms of 25 and 50 m² are available for use by caterers.
There are two rooms available for fashion shows :
The plaster sculpture room (Great Hall), with a capacity for 180 persons seated, or the Portzamparc Wing, with a capacity for 300 persons seated.
Please contact Mercedes San Martin on 01 49 54 73 95, or email