The Marmottan Monet Museum owes its creation to Paul Marmottan who bequeathed his significant art collection and his two town houses to the French Academy of Fine Arts in 1932. The town house he owned in the XVI° district along with most of his collection became the Marmottan Monet Museum. His rich library, a part of his art collection, and the town house he owned in Boulogne now make up the Marmottan Library.
The greater part of this collection is dedicated to First Empire pieces for which Paul Marmottan had both an erudite and a collector’s passion. It was completed by the collection he inherited from his father in 1883 who was more interested in art from the High Middle Ages.
His extensive knowledge of the First Empire and considerable financial means allowed Paul Marmottan to bring together an incredible collection spanning a diverse array of mediums from his favorite period: paintings, drawings, engravings, miniatures, medals, sculptures, furniture, bronzes, pieces of porcelain, etc.
Paul Marmottan truly has the merit of having stayed off the First Empire beaten tracks (David, Ingres, Gros, Girodet, Canova, etc.) to devote himself to less renowned artists that are representative of the final decades of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. In this way he honors their work. A large number of interesting artists are thus presented in the Museum collections such as the painters Fabre, Boilly, Gauffier, Carmontelle, Bruandet, Caizac, Mallet, Perin-Salbreux, Paillot, Mongin, Watelet, Demarne, Pau de Saint-Martin, Wille, Bertin, Swebach, Turpin de Crissé, Taunay, Debucourt, Pajou, Franque, Bidauld, Laneuville, Chaudet, Lefèvre, Bouhot, Van Gorp, Vallin, Harriet, Sablet, Vestier, and the sculptors Bartolini, Bosio, Delaistre, Courtet, ect. In the decorative arts, the pieces gathered by Paul Marmottan are signed by the greatest names during the time of the Empire: Jacob, Molitor, Bellangé, Thomire, Feuchère, Ravrio, etc.
Throughout his life and in his will, Paul Marmottan bequeathed many works of art to French museums (about 500 pieces), which show the same characteristics than the collection presented in Marmottan Monet Museum.