"I long to bury myself in the Louvre."
-Samuel F.B. Morse
Travelling to Paris was a major financial risk, but was also what Samuel Morse believed to be his only opportunity to transition from a portrait painter to an accomplished historical painter, as evidenced by his passport. Morse arrived in Paris in 1830 and spent nearly two years painting what was to be his most ambitious project 'Gallery of the Louvre.' Morse was so devoted to his painting that he refused to leave Paris during the deadly cholera outbreak of 1832.
"My education as a painter is incomplete without it."
-Samuel F.B. Morse in reference to Paris
"The cholera outbreak is raging here, and I can compare the state of mind in each man of us only to that of soldiers in the heat of battle; all the usual securities of life seem to be gone."
-Samuel F.B. Morse, letter May 6, 1832
"I am diligently occupied every moment of my time at the Louvre finishing the great labor which I have there undertaken. I say 'finishing', I mean that part of it which can only be completed there, namely, the copies of the pictures. It is a great labor, but it will be a splendid and valuable work."
-Samuel F.B. Morse, letter July 18, 1832