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Gustave Moreau (1826-1898)

I remember the year i was living in Paris to be filled with visiting museums. One of the first I visited was the Moreau Muzeum. I really do not know if it still the same venue. but I remember that I was impressed , pulling out large panels from the walls , filled with canvasses. Together with the Jeu de Paume and the Roding museum these are the museums I still remember very well and I was reminded of that visit when I listed the Stadsgalerij Heerlen catalog on Moreau, which is now available at

Gustave Moreau, the French artist, gained his reputation as a painter of symbolic allegories. It was in 1864 at the Salon in Paris that Gustave Moreau first made a breakthrough with the painting ‘Oedipus and the Sphinx’. His most important works include ‘Salomé’ and ‘Saint Sebastian and the angels’.

Born on April 6, 1826, in Paris, Gustave Moreau studied at the art academy in Paris and subsequently under Théodore Chassériau, a pupil of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, whose work is considered part of the romanticism movement.

Gustave Moreau made his debut at the Salon in Paris in 1852 with ‘Pieta Plaza’. This work clearly showed the influence of Théodore Chassériau and Eugène Delacroix. From 1857 to 1860, Moreau worked in Italy, where he studied the work of Andrea Mantegna, Benozzo Gozzoli, and Michelangelo. In 1881, he was commissioned to create illustrations for a collection of fables by Jean de la Fontaine. Moreau spent five years working on this project.

Mythology and Bible
Gustave Moreau painted a large series of artworks based on stories from mythology and the Bible. Towards the end of his life, he became a teacher at the art academy in Paris. Albert Marquet, Henri Matisse, and Georges Rouault were all students of Gustave Moreau at the École des Beaux-Arts.

Gustave Moreau passed away on April 18, 1898, in Paris. In his will, he left his house and studio along with all the artworks present there to the French state. His residence on Rue de La Rochefoucauld was opened to the public in 1903. The Musée Gustave-Moreau exhibits significant works by Gustave Moreau, such as ‘Jupiter and Semele’ (1895), ‘The Chimeras’ (1884), and ‘The Return of the Argonauts’ (1891-1897).