Although absent from the picture, the artist and collector Jean-François Gigoux gives us a self-portrait based on some items from his everyday surroundings in his Paris apartment, located in the Champs-Elysées district.

The centre of the composition is occupied by a padded armchair on which sit Gigoux’s personal belongings: his top hat and a pair of white gloves, distinctive signs of his bourgeois standing, his cane, and lastly his notebooks or pads with drawings of his own and/or by the past masters he so passionately collected. This interior view has been located thanks to identification of the two paintings hanging together, to the left of the fireplace. These two pictures of Flemish peasants entered Besançon Museum with the artist’s collection, and are attributed to Adriaen Brouwer.

Since 1852, Gigoux had been in a relationship with Mme Hańska, widow of Honoré de Balzac. It is suggested that it was in order to help out his mistress, crippled by debts, that the painter parted on several occasions with significant parts of this collection of prints and drawings, the core of which today forms the pride of Besançon Museum. This donation to his native city has perpetuated the memory of someone who, alongside Bonnat and Degas, was one of the greatest artist-collectors of his era.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

Access the Museums of the City of Paris collections portal
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.