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affiche Proust

Marcel Proust (1871-1922), d’après la photographie d’Otto Wegener (1849-1924). Collection privée

Marcel Proust. On his mother's side

From 14 april to 28 August 2022

The "Marcel Proust. On his mother's side" exhibition is the first in France to focus on the writer through the prism of his Jewishness.

Marking the centenary of his death, it features 150 paintings, drawings, prints and documents, including major works by Monet (one of his favourite painters), Rodin, Bonnard and Vuillard, and proofs of Swann’s Way and Sodom and Gomorrah corrected by the author. The exhibition explores this fundamental aspect of the personality and work of Marcel Proust (1871-1922), who after his mother’s death in 1905 set to work in earnest, driven by his will to “do something that would have pleased mother”. The writing of his great work, In Search of Lost Time, became his prime preoccupation until he died.

After highlighting Proust’s ties with his mother’s family, the Weils (Jews perfectly integrated into the modern bourgeoisie of their time and who played a major role in the history of the Jews in France), the exhibition illustrates the author’s social life, the committed position he took regarding the Dreyfus Affair, his vision of the homosexual as an alter ego of the Jew, the burgeoning of modernism led by Jewish intellectuals and artists at the beginning of the 20th century, and the question of memory, a central element of Jewish identity and in the writing of In Search of Lost Time. It also evokes the important places in his life, his contributions to La Revue blanche, the influence of the English writer John Ruskin (Proust and his mother translated Sesame and Lilies), the similarities between the structure of Proustian manuscripts and that of the Talmud, his interest in the Book of Esther and the Zohar, the Jewish characters in In Search of Lost Time, anti-Semitism in late 19th and early 20th-century France, and the critical receptions his publications received in Zionist reviews in the 1920s. Through Proust’s Jewishness, the exhibition also reveals the too often ignored contribution of the Jews in 19th-century France, where they gained access to all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life in an integration process unprecedented in European history.

The exhibition benefits from loans by some thirty institutions, including the National Gallery in London, the Louvre, the Musée Carnavalet, the Musée Proust at Illiers-Combray and exceptional loans by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Musée d’Orsay.

Catalogue in French, co-published by mahJ and RMN – Grand-Palais (272 pages, 39 €).


Isabelle Cahn, General Curator of Paintings at Orsay Museum, Paris.

Scientific advisor

Antoine Compagnon, professor Emeritus at Collège de France, Paris




Rates and reservation

MahJ ticket to permanent collection and exhibitions:

> Full rate: 10 €
> Reduced rate: 7 € (18-25 year non European Union residents)
> Exhibition-Reduced rate for 18-25 year European Union residents: 5 €

Online booking is recommended, including for free ticket holders, Paris Museum Pass holders and Friends of the mahJ.

Purchase your entrance ticket:

> Online ticketing*
> On site, at mahJ’s ticketdesk (from Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 am to 5 pm)
> By phone, (33)1 53 01 86 57 (Tuesday and Wednesday from 10h30 am to 1h pm)
* Secured payment by crebit card

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