François Arsène Housset (later changed to Houssaye), was a writer, theatre director and museum official.
Housset came from Bruyères-sous-Laon, the son of a prominent and wealthy provincial family. In 1838 he came to Paris, where he wrote novels and plays, as well as becoming art critic for the Revue de Paris. He was the Directeur du Theatre-Francais from 1849 to 1856, Inspecteur général des musées de France from 1857 and Inspecteur général des Beaux Arts from 1860. In 1844 he became editor of the journal, L'Artiste. Baudelaire dedicated his Le Spleen de Paris to him.
According to Willem Bürger in his 1863 review of the Salon des Refusés, Housset wanted to buy Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38).
Bürger, Willem, L'Indépendance Belge, 11 June 1863; Dictionnaire de biographie francaise; France, Peter, The New Oxford Companion to Literature in France, 1995, p. 391; Anon., 'Houssaye [Housset], (François-)Arsène,' Grove Dictionary of Art Online, http://www.groveart.com (accessed August 2004).