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Nice's Musée Masséna turns 100

The Masséna Museum in Nice turns 100 this year! Read the history of this beautiful Belle Epoque villa and the events to celebrate the centenary.

Villa Masséna, circa 1980 c. Ville de Nice

One hundred years ago, on 28 January 1921, the Mayor of Nice, Honoré Sauvan, inaugurated the Musée Masséna, which had become the property of the city following the donation by Victor Masséna, Prince d'Essling.

A century later, this institution, which is part of the heritage and heart of the people of Nice, contributes to the knowledge, research and dissemination of the history of Nice and the Côte d'Azur by making its collections accessible to the general public and by preserving and enriching its collections for future generations.

Invitation to the opening of the museum, 1921. c. Ville de Nice

A treasure of Nice's heritage, the Musée Masséna was inaugurated with great pomp and circumstance on 28 January 1921 in the presence of all the personalities who counted at the time. This "Nice Carnival", as journalists liked to talk about it, is installed in the sumptuous residence, linked to the Marshal of the Empire André Masséna, and built by his grandson Victor Masséna, Prince of Essling, at the end of the 19th century. This event was made possible thanks to the generosity of his son and heir, who wanted to make it the Museum of Art and History of the City of Nice. For a hundred years, this remarkable building has been working to bring back to life the belle époque of Nice through its scientific project, which consists in particular of :

Salle Révolution et l'Empire. c. Ville de Nice
  • Repositioning the Villa Masséna in the urban history of Nice as an exemplary record of the development of the city beyond the Paillon and the primitive walls,

  • Highlight the singularity of the site as one of the last existing testimonies of a 19th-century villa and garden on the Promenade des Anglais,

  • To present the permanent collections on the theme of the evolution of society and the City of Nice in the 19th century and its development during the Belle-Epoque,

  • To create synergy and harmony between the museum-monument and the collections that make it up.

These orientations are achieved through the diversity of the temporary exhibitions and the richness of the collections ranging from the Revolution to the Roaring Twenties.

Salle Joubert, before the renovation. c. Ville de Nice

The collections from generous donations

In 1940, Joseph Saqui, director of the municipal museums, estimated the number of donations registered since 1919 at 700. These illustrated local life, but not only.

Indeed, from its creation, the Musée Masséna received important general donations: in 1923, the porcelain donated by Edouard Porcher-Labreuil and the jewellery bequeathed by Georges Chapsal, in 1926 the weapons, armour and carved wood collected by Félix Joubert.

In 1929, the donation of the antique dealer Edouard Larcade made it possible to reorganise the primitive room in Nice. In 1935, the museum received sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux donated by his family. His donations have never ceased.

Following its reopening in 2008, new generous donors such as the Société des Amis de Nice, Jean-Pierre Martin, son of the painter Charles-Martin Sauvaigo, Bruno de Cessole, descendant of the Spitalieri de Cessole family from Nice, Olivier Lai, son of the composer Francis Lai, Jean-François Carenco for the Joseph Saqui donation, François Daure for the Barety donation... have enriched the collections.

Masséna Museum celebrates its centenary!

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the cultural platform of the City of Nice proposes to discover or rediscover the history of the Masséna Museum.

On the programme :

  • 100 years of exhibitions: light on the activities of the Masséna Museum since its inauguration.

  • Series of Podcasts: a look back at characters and events that have marked the history of the city: the Mission of Virginia de Castiglione, François and Clorine Malausséna, Les de Cessole Mathilde and Mathilde, the arrival of the train in Nice and the year 1864, the year of the two emperors.

  • Conference: listen to Olivier Ghebali, delegate of Nice Alpes-Maritimes of the Napoleonic Remembrance to come back on the annexation of the County of Nice to France

  • Focus video "Treasures of Nice": the portraits of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie

  • Exhibition catalogue: in 2020, the Musée Masséna proposed an exhibition entitled "Nice and the Second Empire - The journey of Napoleon III and Eugenie in 1860". Discover the catalogue

  • Visit of the exhibition "Nice and the Second Empire" alongside Jean-Pierre Barbero and Muriel Mayette-Holtz.

  • The mobile application Musée Masséna is available for download!

  • Video : Enjoy a private visit of the Masséna Museum

Musée Masséna c. Ville de Nice

Musée Masséna

65, rue de France - Nice

+33 04 93 911 910

Open every day except Tuesday, from 10 am to 6 pm

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