Huis Marseille

Keizersgracht 401
Cultuur, Leisure

Huis Marseille Museum

The Huis Marseille Museum, which was founded in 1999, was the first museum in the Netherlands to focus specifically on photography as an art form. The monumental seventeenth-century building in which the museum is housed dates from 1665 and was built as a private dwelling for the French merchant Isaac Focquier. Focquier mounted a stone plaque on the classical façade depicting a map of the city of Marseille, to which the building owes its name. Focquier had made his fortune from a ship that had sailed from Marseille.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the building was embellished with, among other things, stucco work in the hall depicting Mercury, god of trade, and Victoria, goddess of victory and bringer of peace and prosperity. The ceiling painting by Jacob de Wit, in what is now the garden room, also dates from this period. This painting shows Apollo enthroned on clouds surrounded by Minerva and the nine muses.

In around 1900, the first connection between Huis Marseille and photography came about when Eva Boelen-Smidt van Gelder, who lived in the house at that time, commissioned the photographer Nic Schuitvlot to produce an album of photographs of the house and interior. Some hundred years later, the photographer Hans van den Bogaard photographed the house from the same viewpoints as Schuitvlot, for an exhibition. These photographs show that the original interior has remained largely intact. (ARCAM/TB)