Musée Girodet Masterpieces Damaged as Storage Vault Is Affected by Floods

A crowd-funder has been launched to help with the cost of restorations.

Photo courtesy Claire Hansen-Béales.
A damaged painting at the Musée Girodet. Photo courtesy Claire Hansen-Béales.

A damaged painting at the Musée Girodet. Photo courtesy of Claire Hansen-Béales.

Last week’s floods in France, which caused the emergency closure of both the Musée Louvre and Musée d’Orsay in Paris, have also deeply affected the Musée Girodet in the city of Montargis.

The dangerously high water levels of the Seine have been wreaking havoc on museums across the country. On Monday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced the arrangement of an emergency fund of several million euros for the casualties of the inundations.

But, while back in Paris museums are slowly but surely re-opening their doors, the Girodet museum in the Loiret region has been left with hundreds of water-damaged artworks, reports Telerama.

The Musée Girodet in Montargis. Photo Croquant via Wikimedia Commons.

The Musée Girodet in Montargis. Photo Croquant via Wikimedia Commons.

The Musée Girodet holds neo-classical paintings by its founder and namesake Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, as well as a number of other works by notable French, Italian, and Flemish Old Masters.

Although the museum itself has been closed for renovations for the past four years, its off-site store, a vault in the basement of a former bank, was affected by the deluge and flooded to the ceiling.

The onset of the flood was so rapid that the museum’s team had to evacuate after only being able to secure one part of the collections. By chance, some of the more valuable works were saved, notably some of Girodet-Triosin’s major works, such as the Portrait de profil du docteur Trioson, celui de Madame Reiset, and Le Sommeil D’Endymion.

But others works did not fare as well. Along with plaster sculptures by Henry de Triqueti, works by Théodore Géricault, Jean-Jacques Feuchère, and even a precious painting from circa 1650 by Spanish master Francisco Zurbarán were badly damaged.

A damaged sculpture at the Musée Girodet. Photo courtesy of Claire Hansen-Béales.

A damaged sculpture at the Musée Girodet. Photo courtesy of Claire Hansen-Béales.

The next steps for the museum will be to take an inventory of the destruction caused by the flood, and put safeguarding measures in place before they can start restoring the spoiled works.

The renovation will be costly for the museum. The Société des Amis du Musée Girodet has launched a crowd-funder to help cover costs of the conservation and then the restoration of works damaged by the floods, but even if their target of €30,000 ($33,000) is met, it will only cover a fraction of the expected expense.

The museum, which was previously set to reopen next year, will have to postpone its reopening.

Damaged worked removed from flooded areas. Photo courtesy of Claire Hansen-Béales.

Damaged worked removed from flooded areas. Photo courtesy of Claire Hansen-Béales.


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