In 1929, a rumor spread around Paris that Delacroix’s studio was about to be destroyed. To prevent it from being replaced by a garage, the painters Maurice Denis and Paul Signac, with the assistance of the historians who specialized in Delacroix, André Joubin and Raymond Escholier, decided to form a Friends of Delacroix association. They were able to lease the studio and the garden.
Recognized as an entity of public utility in 1934, the Friends of Delacroix association set a goal of "maintaining the existence and upkeep" of the place and promoting the artist’s work. Starting in 1932, they organized a number of events in the studio, with a succession of exhibitions and concerts (including a recital by Arthur Rubinstein). When the building was sold in 1952, the association sold some of the collection to the French government. With these funds, it was able to purchase the apartment and the studio, which it donated to the State in 1954, with the stipulation that a museum be created. In 1971, the Musée Eugène Delacroix became a national museum.
The association included a number of artists among its members: Pierre Bonnard, Raoul Dufy, André Lhôte, Henri Matisse, Ernest Rouart, Ker-Xavier Roussel, and Edouard Vuillard, along with art hirtorians and curators such as René Huyghe, Maurice Sérullaz, Jean Leymarie, Gisèle Polaillon-Kerven, Bernard Cassou, Bernard Dorival, Georges Salles, and Raymond Koechlin, and a large number of art collectors, including Mmes de Waresquiel, de Maillé, MM. David-Weill, Wildenstein.
Dismantled in June 2000, the association has now been revived with the goal of increasing its support to the Musée National Eugène Delacroix. This commitment is reflected in three symbolic acts:
- A change in the name of the association and the adoption of new statues;
- The exceptional assistance granted to the museum to acquire the superb Portrait of Auguste-Richard de la Hautière, which entered the museum on 13 March 2001;
- In 2002, the definitive transfer to the museum of the collection that had been in the possession of the association.