Musée Cognacq-Jay Overview

Founded by Marie-Louise Jaÿ (1838-1925) and her husband Ernest Cognacq (1839-1928) and located inside the Hôtel de Donon, Musée Cognacq-Jay is a splendid art museum in Paris. The museum is known for its extensive collection of works by eminent personalities, such as François Boucher, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Hubert Robert, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and Maurice Quentin de La Tour.

The rich collections of the Musée cognacq jay include furniture, porcelain, jewelry, oil paintings, pastels, and sculptures from the 18th century. Some of the iconic highlights of the museum include Diana After the Hunt, Balaam and the Ass, Polish-style Bed, The Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge, Vanity Case, and The Indiscreet. In addition to its permanent collections, the Musée cognacq jay Paris also hosts a number of impressive temporary exhibitions from time to time that can be explored by visitors with a small fee.

Highlights from the Collection of the Museum

Boucher, François (1703 - 1770)
Boucher, François (1703 - 1770)

The picture in the Musée cognacq jay showcases goddess Diana resting under the shade of a tree in a clearing inside a forest and unlacing her boots after hunting with three nymphs. She has a milky white complexion, curvaceous body, and a slender face, exposing her nude self with an elegant pose.

Boilly, Louis Léopold (1761 - 1845)
Boilly, Louis Léopold (1761 - 1845)

This picture in the musée cognacq-jay displays a young woman wearing a mischievous smile and roguish look with her teeth showing, eyes sparkling, and cheekbones raised. The woman is scantily dressed and standing at a door, which a young man is trying to force open. Another woman is lying half-naked on a bed and both the women are looking at the viewer with a knowing air.

Musée Cognacq-Jay
Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn, dit) (1606 - 1669)

Dating back to 1626, this is one of the earliest works by Rembrandt, who must have been in his 20s during the making of this masterpiece. When prophet Balaam's mount changes its direction all of a sudden to avoid God’s angel, he starts beating the animal with a stick. However, God intervenes and the animal starts talking. The prophet, then, recognises this divine miracle and blesses Israel thrice.

musée cognacq-jay
II Canaletto (1697 - 1768)

Canaletto paints his city along with its inhabitants in this painting in the musée cognacq jay. The painting showcases the Grand Canal with gandolas floating on the water and the everyday busy life taking its own course. This painting was commissioned by Joseph Smith, an English diplomat, who spent most of his time staying in Venice.

musée cognacq-jay
Cox, James (1749 - 1792)

With a clock crowning it, this is a rectangular box made of Gold, Agate, Enamel, Wood, and Velvet. There is an inscription on the band of the box that reads, "If, by opening me, your thoughts/Turn fondly to me/I swear on my faith, /I'll ​​be well rewarded". Engraved with rococo-style motifs, this box has many objects including various toiletries, feminine hygiene products, flasks, and gastronomical pleasures.

musée cognacq-jay
Jacob, Georges (1739 - 1814)

This is a Polish-style bed with a shiny blue taffeta patterned with arabesques and branches. The bed is adorned with carved decoration, showcasing naturalistic ancient elements. The gilded wood frame of the bed is decorated with acanthus leaves and pearls. The crown of the bed is decorated with beautifully sculpted poppy flowers showcased at different stages of blooming.

History of Musée Cognacq-Jay

In 1925, Ernest Cognacq started holding temporary exhibitions at the Samaritaine de Luxe from his personal collections. Cognacq acquired a new museum located in the building next to the Samaritaine de Luxe in 1927. After the death of Cognacq in 1928, his personal adviser and antiques expert, Edouard Jonas took charge of the project. In 1929, the museum was officially inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue. The Samaritaine de Luxe was shut down and the second building was also sold in 1981. After major restoration work, Musée Cognacq-Jay Paris was finally opened between 1986 and 1989 in the Hôtel Donon, a sixteenth-century townhouse. The huge permanent collection of the museum is exhibited over three storeys. Later, the Musée Cognacq-Jay also started hosting a number of impressive temporary exhibitions from time to time for the visitors to explore.

musée cognacq-jay

1. Opening Hours:

10 AM to 6 PM; closed on Monday

2. Location:

8 Rue Elzevir, 75003 Paris, France

3. How to Reach:

By Subway: You can take a subway and get to the museum. You can opt for Saint-Paul (ligne 1), Chemin-Vert (ligne 8), or Rambuteau (ligne 11), based on your convenience.

By Bicycle: Vélib' bikes are available on rent at station n°4013 Vieille du Temple - Francs Bourgeois and station 3002 Saint Gilles - Turenne.

By Bus: You can take a bus and get to the museum. You can opt for lines 29 (Turenne-Saint Gilles / Payenne), 69 (Saint-Paul), 76 (Saint-Paul), and 96 (Saint-Paul).

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