Far off the beaten path, only the lovers of asian art know about the Musée d’Ennery. Hidden behind the almost always closed shutters of 59 avenue Foch, it however deserves to be better known.
What to see at the Musée d’Ennery
Here we find an extraordinary collection of more than six thousand « netzuke », as well as Asian varnished wood, ceramics and porcelains. The collection gets its name from it’s owner, Clémence d’Ennery, mistress then wife of Adolphe d’Ennery (1811-1899), a successful and prolific playwright during the 19th century. The ‘netzuke’ are small and very delicate Japanese statues made of ivory, wood, and many other materials. They represent people, religious scenes, or scenes from every day life that serve as counterweights for money purses suspended from male Japanese kimonos.
To better display the best elements of Asian art, Clémence d’Ennery had one of her friends, the celebrated ebony carpenter of the period Gabriel Viardot, build magnificent showcases of wood inlaid with mother of pearl. In order to enlarge the mansion on Avenue Foch, Clémence constructed 3 additional galeries specifically reserved to exhibit the collection. In fact the beginning of Clémence Ennery’s collection before her marriage, she at the time Desgranges, was brought together at her home on rue de l’Echiquier. It was later added to the collection between 1890 et 1898 and brought together many pieces from all over, from renown Parisian Asian art dealers such as Tadamasa Hayashi, Samuel Bing, or the Pohl brothers, or from less known sellers, sometimes in the department stores like Le Bon Marché.
Childless, Clémence quickly decided to make a donation to the State. At her death, her husband, aided by her friend and the executor of her will, politician Georges Clemenceau himself, helped to uphold her wishes. Her husband was not opposed to the donation to the State, consisting not just of the collection, but also the mansion in which it was housed.
Today the Musée d’Ennery is administratively connected to Musée Guimet and is not accessible except by reservation. Visits only take place Saturday morning at 11:30 to 12:30 (with groups no larger than 15 people). This explains why the shutters on the façade of 59 Avenue Foch are almost always closed! There are lectures from the Musée Guimet that lead the visits in the part accessible to the public. These guides from the Musée Guimet specifically open these spaces as renovation work is underway (roof) or other projects are awaiting State funding to complete (façade, courtyard, garden).
How to visit the Musée d’Ennery
Good news : access to the museum is completely free. Art accessible to everyone.
However be aware that you must program a visit in advance. In fact the museum is not accessible except with a reserved guided visit, which only takes place on Saturday mornings at 11:30 and has very limited spaces. For that matter it is also closed from mid-June to mid-September. You must often reserve your place many weeks, if not months in advance, or ask to be added to the waiting list for the next visit and hope there will be a last minute cancelation.
To reserve your place send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Adresse : 59 avenue Foch, Paris
Métro : Stations VICTOR HUGO or PORTE DAUPHINE (line 2)
Bus : You can take all the buses that pass by CHARLES DE GAULLE/ETOILE. Once you descend at this stop you will just have to walk to Avenue Foch.
More information on the Musée d’Ennery
Site officiel du musée d’Ennery (in French)