The Ecole de Nancy Museum is one of the few French museums dedicated to an artistic movement: Nancy Art Nouveau
The museum is located in the former property of Jean-Baptiste Eugène Corbin, the most important patron and collector of École de Nancy artwork. The garden, a pleasant oasis of fountains and flowerbeds, was completely restored in 1998 and offers a variety of plants designed by Nancy horticulturists and École de Nancy contemporaries such as Félix Crousse and Victor Lemoine. Furthermore, the garden houses three emblematic École de Nancy and Art Nouveau monuments:
- The oak door was created in 1897 by Eugène Vallin on the request of Emile Gallé for his workshop, located on avenue de la Garenne in Nancy.
- The funerary monument, erected in 1901 at the Preville cemetery in Nancy, is the work of the architect Girard and Parisian sculptor Pierre Roche.
Inside the house, the furniture, the objets d'art, the glasswork, the ceramics and the fabric attest the diversity of the techniques employed by the École de Nancy artists. The unique and prestigious objects throughout the museum are the realizations of a virtuous technique as well as widely produced and diffused works of art. The small wood inlaid furniture, the acid engraved glass and the series of ceramics are representative of “Art for all.”
The museum does not represent a strict recreation of the 1900s décor, but instead tries to reproduce the atmosphere and ambiance of the period by placing the artwork in an appropriate context. The space is arranged to encourage and promote unrestricted browsing and to immediately introduce the visitor to the intimate work of Nancy artists.
The museum offers a glimpse of the French Art Nouveau movement through the works of Guimard, Chaplet, Selmersheim and Carabin.
An extensive collection of over 400 glass and ceramic works by Emile Gallé are also housed within the museum. Several of Gallé’s most exemplary furniture, including Les Parfums d'autrefois ("The Scents of the Past"), Le Rhin ("the Rhine") table and the Aube et Crépuscule ("Dawn and Twilight”) bed are equally presented.
Another well represented artist, Prouvé contributed to the production and realization of the extraordinary Masson dining room. Carried out in 1904 by Charles Masson, brother-in-law of Eugène Corbin, the dining room affirms Vallin’s virtuosity and demonstrates École de Nancy’s originality in its search for the unity of art.
Acquisitions and developments
The museum benefits from the aid and generosity of public and private institutions in order to increase its collection and ensure its diffusion and preservation. The Fonds Régional d'Acquisition des Musées de Lorraine (Lorraine Museum Regional Acquisition Foundation) website presents several of their contributions to the museum collection between 1982 and 2003. This policy for acquisition has been pursued since 2003 by the FRAM, the active support of the AAMEN (Friends of the Museum), the patronage of the CIC-Est bank and generous anonymous donators.