The museum is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Marcel Proust (1871-1922).
Based on Marcel Proust’s relationship with Paris, where he spent most of his life the “March Proust, a Parisian Novel” exhibition looks at the city’s place in Proust’s novels for the first time.
The first part of the exhibition explores Marcel Proust’s Parisian world. The writer, who was born and died in Paris, led his life in a very limited area, a square that stretched from the Parc Monceau to Place de la Concorde, from there to Auteuil and from there to the Bois de Boulogne and the Arc de Triomphe.
Paris played a decisive part in awakening Marcel Proust’s literary vocation, from his first texts at the end of the 1890s with his fellow students at the Lycée Condorcet to his first steps in Parisian high society where he met key figures.
His discovery of Paris’s artistic and social milieux and the friendships and romances he found there forged the writer’s personality and led him towards finding his vocation. Important maps provide evidence of Marcel Proust's presence in Paris, his networks and favourite places.
At the heart of the exhibition, the innovative recreation of Proust’s bedroom lets the visitor immerse themselves in the writer's world. Items of furniture and objects related to the private life of Marcel Proust and his family reveal his creative space that was at the origin of his works.
The second part of the exhibition opens on the fictional Paris created by Proust. By following the architecture of In Search of Lost Time and through iconic locations in Paris, it offers a journey through the work and the city’s history, following the novel’s main protagonists. The city of Paris, poeticised in writing, is the setting for the narrator’s quest (which mirrors that of the author) until the final revelation of his vocation as a writer.
Around 280 works (paintings, sculptures, graphic works, photos, architectural models, accessories and clothing), manuscripts and archive documents from public and private collections in France and abroad, evoke the Paris of Marcel Proust, oscillating between reality and reinvention. Many extracts from archive films, cinema adaptations and sound recordings of In Search of Lost Time offer visitors a sensorial introduction to the novel and Proust’s world.
At the same time, as part of our permanent collections, an exhibition file “Anna de Noailles, L’Ombre des Jours” lets visitors discover the creative world of a friend of Marcel Proust, the poet Anna de Noailles (née Brancovan) (1876-1933), who, in the 1910s, lived at 40 Rue Scheffer in the 16th arrondissement. Her bedroom, the contents of which were donated to the museum at the end of the 1970s, will be recreated.
Valérie Guillaume, Director of the Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris
Anne-Laure Sol, Lead Heritage Curator, responsible for the Paintings and Stained Glass Department, Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris
Jérôme Bastianelli, Chairman of the Society of Friends of Marcel Proust
Professor Luc Fraisse, University of Strasbourg and member of the Institut Universitaire de France
Jean-Marc Quaranta, Lecturer, CIELAM – InCIAM, University of Aix-Marseilles
Jean-Yves Tadié, Emeritus Professor, University of Paris-Sorbonne
Alice Thomine-Berrada, Curator Responsible for Paintings, Sculptures and Objects, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts
EVENING ON APRIL 2, 3, 9 AND 10
Cultural programme for the exhibition:
Evening events, from 7 pm
Thursday 13 January: lecture by Jean-Yves Tadié (University of Paris-Sorbonne)
Saturday 22 January: A night of readings
“Tentative de résumer la Recherche en une heure” [An attempt to summarise In Search of Lost Time in one hour] by Véronique Aubouy
“Anna de Noailles. Lecture en musique” [Anna de Noailles. Musical reading] by Laure Urgin (voice) and Armance Quero (cello)
Thursday 3 February: reading “Au lit de Proust” [In Proust’s bed] by Marie Darrieussecq
Thursday 10 February: Des hôtels parisiens... très particuliers: male prostitution houses in the manuscripts of Marcel Proust, lecture by Pyra Wise (Ecole Normale Supérieure)
Thursday 17 February: concert by the Paris Chamber Orchestra
Wednesday 9 March: lecture by Jean-Marc Hovasse (Sorbonne University/CNRS)