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For a decade following its inauguration in 1838, the Musée Espagnol was billed as one of Paris’s main attractions. Created by Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, the Galerie Espagnole was emblematic of the continuities and contradictions that informed the rise of the bourgeois collector and the modern notion of patrimoine. In its attempt to blur distinctions between private collecting and public nation-building, the Musée Espagnol reveals crucial aspects of the July Monarchy’s political strategies. This analysis also reveals how the King’s strategic collection was met with tactical resistance by artists whose experiences as spectators read new meanings into the gallery and its paintings.