Delacroix moved to Rue de Furstenberg on December 28, 1857 and gave up his studio on Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. It was too far from the Saint-Sulpice Church, where Delacroix was working on a commission he had received in 1847 to decorate a chapel.
The artist was seriously ill and wanted to finish his work at all costs, but he was no longer able to manage the long trip across town every day. He was therefore happy to find a calm and bright place to live, relatively close to Saint-Sulpice, through the intermediary of his friend, the painting restorer and paint supplier Etienne Haro.
He settled in fairly easily, with the exception of the inevitable delays in the remodeling work from May to December. Once he had moved in, Delacroix often expressed his contentment in his journal and letters: "My apartment is decidedly charming... Woke up the next day to see the most gracious sun on the houses opposite my window. The view of my little garden and the cheerful appearance of my studio always make me happy." (Journal, December 28, 1857).
Eugène Delacroix lived in this apartment until his death on August 13, 1863.
From the apartment to the museum
After Delacroix’s death on August 13, 1863, various tenants occupied the building until discussions arose about destroying the studio. In 1929, several painters, including Maurice Denis and Paul Signac; two historians of Delacroix, André Joubin and Raymond Escholier; and an art collector, Doctor Viau, come up with the idea of creating the Société des Amis d’Eugène Delacroix, presided by Maurice Denis, to prevent this sacrilegious destruction.
The Société des Amis d’Eugène Delacroix initially rented the studio, then the apartment and the studio. This Société, recognized as working in the public interest in 1934, set as its goal to "guarantee the existence and maintenance" of the buildings and to promote Delacroix’s work. Starting in 1932, it organized a series of exhibitions, concerts, and conferences. When the building was put up for sale in 1952, the Société, concerned with completing its assigned task, sold its collection to the national museums. With the earnings, it was able to acquire the apartment, the studio, and the small garden. It donated all the property to the French government in 1954, with the agreement that a museum would be created.
In 1971, the Musée Eugène Delacroix became a national museum. The building’s façades and roofs on the courtyard and garden side, as well as the museum, the garden and the studio, were registered on the supplementary inventory of the Historical Monuments in 1991.
With the purchase in 1992 of part of an apartment adjoining the rooms occupied by the painter, the museum acquired a new public area and an information room. Finally, in Spring 1999, the garden was renovated. Although it is not a true reconstruction, due to a lack of precise documents, it now features many of the trees that Delacroix particularly loved, and foliage and plants that create an interplay of colors—a discreet reference to the talents of the colorist who was once master of this site.