The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix reopens on 20 March 2024, after six months of renovations. To mark the occasion, the museum will present an original exhibition dedicated to Ingres and Delacroix, two major artistic figures of the 19th century, and the objects that made up their personal worlds.

A tobacco jar in the shape of a fish that belonged to Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863), a gilded laurel crown awarded to Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) by the citizens of Montauban to celebrate his admission to the Senate, an illuminator’s inkpot in Fez-style pottery, brought back by Delacroix from his travels in Morocco in 1832, paint-daubed palettes, Ingres’s famous violin... These ordinary objects bear witness to the personal tastes and creative processes of two great artists. What do they tell us about their famous owners? How much of the man was in the artist? How much of the artist in the man? Ingres et Delacroix: Artists’ Objects (20 March–10 June 2024) suggests some answers.

Ingres and Delacroix personify an emblematic moment in the history of art in the first half of the 19th century, the battle between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Today the two institutions that bear their names, the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix in Paris and the Musée Ingres Bourdelle in Montauban, readdress this confrontation from an original perspective: that of their familiar, everyday artists’ objects, which were instruments of their creative activity or tokens of their personal taste.

These objects have stories to tell. They reveal the individual tastes of Ingres and Delacroix as well as those of their era. They had their own place alongside the artists’ networks of family, friends, and colleagues. Their personal effects show both their differences and unexpected parallels. The exhibition explores the worlds of these painters, who appear in various portraits, some formal images staged to glorify their subject, others caricatures illustrating their confrontation. Further on, personal belongings (decorative objects or travel souvenirs), together with objects used in their art (palettes including one said to have been used by Ingres for The Turkish Bath, paintbrushes, paintboxes and related furnishings), are juxtaposed with representations of studios or paintings typifying the art of Ingres and of Delacroix, conveying the identity of each of these artists through a world of objects.
These items invite us to explore the connections between the artist’s life and his art. They also allow us to enter into the personal lives and creative processes of two of the greatest French painters of the 19th century, bringing them within our reach and allowing us to recognise ourselves in each of them.

Organised by the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix - Établissement Public du Musée du Louvre and the Musée Ingres Bourdelle - Ville de Montauban, this exhibition will be presented in Paris from 20 March to 10 June 2024, then, in a version adapted for that locale, in Montauban from 11 July to 10 November 2024.