One of our favourites is Musée Gustave Moreau, named after the great 19th century French symbolist painter. Known for his biblical and mythological works, he was admired by his contemporaries for the magical aspects of his paintings and his wild imagination. Not only is his apartment preserved in the museum exactly as it was when Moreau died, but two of his masterpieces are housed there: Jupiter et Sémélé personifies death and pain, while L’Apparition is believed to be the result of the artist’s frequent opium hallucinations.
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The works of another of France's great artists, Auguste Rodin, are displayed in the magnificent backdrop of Hôtel Biron. The manor boasts grandiose features such as columns, arches and sweeping staircases as well as more subtle intricate mouldings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Rodin's work, his antiquities collection, and 50 paintings from his private collection featuring Van Gogh and Munch can be seen here. Visitors are free to roam the grounds, admiring not only famous works such as Le Penseur (The Thinker) but also the rose garden and peaceful arbour.
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For modern art, head to the Mona Bismark American Centre on the banks of the River Seine. Mona Bismarck was most famous for her marriage (one of five in her lifetime) to Harrison Williams, one of America's richest men in the 1920s. A fashion icon and muse, she was sung about by Cole Porter, painted by Dali and photographed by Cecil Beaton. Following Harrison's death in 1953, Mona Bismarck gifted the house to the state, intending it to become a showcase for 20th and 21st century American art and culture in Europe.
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