Desmazes Inventory, 1838

Inventaire Desmazes - Chapitre 1er, section 2

The Desmazes Inventory was the first complete catalogue of the Musée Fabre, produced in 1838 by Casimir Desmazes (Montpellier, 1800 - 1876). As the town Receiver he was given the task of carrying out a general inventory of the museum by Zoé Granier, Montpellier's mayor. This document is a crucial source of information about the history of the museum which was founded by the native painter François-Xavier Fabre in 1825 and inaugurated in 1828.

The inventory is preceded by a 52 page manuscript which contains different documents relating to the Fabre donation in 1825, including a copy of the estimation of his collection, and the Fabre bequest in 1837. The 18 pages devoted to the inventory of the paintings, prints, books, manuscripts, medallions, engraved stones, cameos and other objects bequeathed by François-Xavier Fabre, found in his apartments and the museum's galleries, are an essential tool for studying the man and his collection. The inventory, dated to May 22nd 1837 by Casimir Desmazes, provides a wealth of information: the purchase price for artworks, occasional references to provenance, the dates for the 17 séances which were required after the death of Fabre to produce the inventory, the rooms visited in the apartments which he occupied on the first floor, the same floor as the exhibition rooms, and, on the second floor the workshop which the painter had preserved, despite it being barely used at the end of his life.

Casimir Desmazes used the inventory the following year to write the first large scale complete catalogue of the Musée Fabre to include work from all provenance, and commonly known as the Desmazes Inventory. As well as the Fabre bequest the catalogue includes all the works held in the museum's collections in 1838, including the important legacy from Antoine Valedau in 1836, and gifts and works bought by the city.