The Provence Art and History Museum is housed in an eighteenth century mansion built by one of the oldest families of medieval Provencal nobility, the Grasse family then Grasse-Cabris combined with the Clapiers. The Marquis Jean-Paul de Clapiers-Cabris married Louise Riqueti (1769), sister of Count Mirabeau (1749-1791), deputy of the Third Estate.
This mansion is the work, at the foot of the ramparts, of Jean Orello, the Milanese architect. Italian with its roof terrace and its colourful façade but French with its classicism on the south side, the distribution of the building and its layout are Provencal.
Richly decorated and furnished but unfinished, the work was abandoned around 1776. Revolutionary events forced the family to flee to Italy and revolutionary national library was established in their home, the only survivor of a larger project that would have housed a museum and a plant conservatory in the garden.
In 1813 the daughter of the Marquis of Clapiers-Cabris, through a forced sale because of her parents' debts, sold the building to the Bruery brothers: they were perfumers and made the building their home and factory. This company proved fatal because it irretrievably transformed the building.
Thereafter, the Bruery heirs only used the building to store their perfumes in the west.
Then (late nineteenth-early twentieth century) the Clapiers-Cabris hotel became a residential building and underwent, again, multiple renovations.
Finally, it was in 1918 that Francis Carnot lent his fortune and skills to this building and he revived it without being able to replace what was destroyed and sold during the previous century such as the wood panels from the lounges and bedrooms, the chimneys, some of the furniture and the parquet floors in the apartments.
He launched a public subscription and in 1921 he created the Fragonard Museum now called the Provence Museum of Art and History.
The M.A.H.P. and its building have been owned by the City of Grasse since 1952.