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Henri Cernuschi


Henri CernuschiBorn in Milan in 1821, Henri Cernuschi was one of the leaders of the Lombard revolution of 1848, fighting on the side of Giuseppe Garibaldi and Léon Gambetta. Banned from Italy, he settled down in France where he published treatises on economy and partly participated in the 'Commune de Paris'. Exhausted by the repression, in 1871 he left Paris with his friend Théodore Duret, patron of the Impressionists. They travelled to Japan and China where Cernuschi purchased about five thousands works of art.


In 1873, he entrusted his collection to the 'Palais de l'Industrie', where a successful exhibition was held. During the same year he had his mansion built by William Bouwens van der Boijen (1834-1907) overlooking the Parc Monceau. This mansion housed his art collection. On the first floor, in a huge room, 19 meters long and 12 meters high, Tokyo's great 'Meguro Buddha' became the focal point.


Upon his death in Menton in 1896, Henri Cernuschi bequeathed his mansion and his art collection to the City of Paris. The Cernuschi museum was inaugurated on the 12th of October 1898.