Musée d'Orsay, Paris

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    "Manet, inventeur du Moderne" exhibition.

    by breughel Updated May 31, 2011

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    A recent poll in the "Le Figaro" showed that 62% of readers prefer Monet to Manet. I also do. However I think that the special exhibition "Manet, inventor of the Modern" held at the Musée d'Orsay until July 3, 2011 will be a success, but perhaps less than the recent Monet exhibition in the Grands Palais.
    For almost 30 years, Edouard Manet (1832-1883), a leading French painter of the nineteenth century, has undergone no major retrospective in France.

    For Manet one wonders if he is among the latest classic painters or among the first modern? The Orsay Museum is interested in the question with an exhibition of 200 paintings, drawings and photographs, locating the painter Edouard Manet in his time between the reaffirmed legacy of Romanticism, the impact of his contemporaries and the media flow of his time.
    It is an outsized figure, fascinated by the great Spanish masters, friend of Baudelaire, Delacroix and Mallarmé.

    My favoured paintings of Manet, all at Orsay, are "Le Balcon" (photo 1) and "Le Fifre" (photo 2).
    I feel puzzled by the "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" (photo 3), by the contrast between the two men fully dressed in a frock coat and the naked woman.
    The naked woman was named Victorine and served also as a model for "Olympia".
    What surprises and what was in opposition with the customs of nude painting of those times is that Victorine is looking shamelessly and straight into the eyes of the spectator who feels as a participant to that "Déjeuner sur l'herbe"!

    Open: 9.30 - 18 h, Thursday 21.45h. Manet exhibition open on Saturdays til 20 h
    Closed: Mondays, 1/01, 1/05 & 25/12.
    MANET EXHIBITION ticket, with TIMED ENTRY + permanent collections.
    Full rate € 10; reduced 7,50 € for 18 - 25 yr not EU; 2,50 € 18 - 25 yr EU citizens.
    Free: 18 yr, everyone on 1st Sunday of the month.

    ==================

    Un récent sondage dans "Le Figaro" indiquait que 62% des lecteurs préféraient Monet à Manet. C'est mon cas. Néanmoins je crois que l'exposition spéciale "Manet, inventeur du Moderne" qui se tient au Musée d'Orsay jusqu'au 3 juillet 2011 sera un succès, mais peut-être moindre que la récente exposition Monet aux Grands Palais.

    Depuis presque 30 ans, Edouard Manet (1832-1883), un des grands peintres français du XIXe siècle, n’a fait l’objet d’aucune rétrospective importante en France.

    Pour Manet on peut se demander s'il se situe parmi les derniers peintres classiques ou parmi les premiers modernes ? Le Musée d'Orsay s'intéresse à la question avec son exposition de 200 peintures, dessins et photographies; elle veut situer le peintre Edouard Manet dans son temps, entre l'héritage réaffirmé du romantisme, l'impact de ses contemporains et le flux médiatique de son époque.
    C'est un personnage hors normes, fasciné par les grands maîtres espagnols, ami de Baudelaire, Delacroix et Mallarmé.

    Mes tableaux préférés de Manet, tous à Orsay, sont "Le Balcon" et "Le Fifre".
    Les deux nus de Manet "Olympia" et surtout le "Déjeuner sur l'herbe", déchaînèrent les sarcasmes et critiques au Salon de 1863. J'avoue que le contraste entre les deux messieurs en redingote et la dame nue m'interpelle.
    La dame nue s'appelait Victorine et servit aussi de modèle pour "Olympia".
    Ce qui surprend et était en opposition avec les usages des peintures de nus de l'époque c'est que Victorine tourne son regard fixe sans aucune pudeur vers le spectateur qui se sent présent au "Déjeuner sur l'herbe".

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    Practical Info (2014) at Musée d'Orsay.

    by breughel Updated Apr 14, 2014

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    MUSEE D'ORSAY - PRACTICAL INFO.
    OPEN daily, except Mondays, from 09.30 to 18.00 h. Late night on Thursdays until 21.45 h.
    Last tickets sold at 17.00 h (21.00 h Thursdays)
    CLOSED on MONDAYS, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.
    Tickets price (2014): 11 €, reduced 8,50 €.
    Free on first Sunday of the month.

    AVOIDING THE LINES.
    It's never amusing when arriving at a museum to face long lines like you see here from my photo 1 showing the entrance called A, facing the quay on the river Seine, for individual visitors without ticket, and the other one called C (photo 2), on the rue de Lille side, for visitors who have already their ticket or passes, or priority access. They have only to pass the security check.
    B and D entrances are for pre-booked groups.

    There are several ways to get the ticket before the visit.
    1° ONLINE PRINTABLE TICKET at :
    www.fnac.com
    www.digitick.com
    www.ticketnet.fr
    There are supplementary charges for administration (1,60 or 1,70 €. One pays 11,00 (basic price) + 1,70 (commission) = 12,70 € for example at the FNAC).
    You can print out tickets purchased in advance and enter the museum through the reserved entrance (entrance C). The museum entrance ticket is valid for one year and one day. The special exhibition ticket is valid for the day selected on booking.
    Tickets bought online cannot be collected at the museum.

    For a forthcoming visit I used Digitick because they ask less personal information than the FNAC shops (It should be noted that till now the Louvre Museum is NOT giving the possibility of printing tickets at home like Orsay).

    2° ADVANCE TICKET SALES.
    There are a number of points of sale in France like big shops Fnac, Carrefour, Géant, Système U, Bon Marché, Virgin Megastore, Auchan, Leclerc, Galeries Lafayette.
    Tourist Information Points at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris-Orly airport, Versailles Tourist Office.
    (On my last visit I bought my ticket at the FNAC where I use to buy books when in Paris. The surcharge of 1,70 € is well worth the gain of time at the entrance of the museum.)

    3° COMBINED TICKET with another museum.
    Musée d'Orsay /Musée de l'Orangerie Passport at 16,00 €
    This entrance ticket is valid, on the date purchased, for the permanent collections and exhibitions of the museum where it was bought, and for a visit to the permanent collections and exhibitions of the other museum within four days.
    There are fewer lines at the Orangerie but I wouldn't guarantee it.

    EATING AND DRINKING.
    The Restaurant on Level 2.
    In a previous tip I wrote here on the former restaurant of the Hôtel d'Orsay, still as magnificent as it was when it opened in 1900. The food is good, the prices are reasonable (menus at 22 and 32 €; dish of the day 17€) and the service is kind (bilingual French-English).
    As my visits to the Musée d'Orsay extend on several hours, usually I have here a pleasant lunch pause.
    The Café Campana (French Brasserie type food) on Level 5 near the Impressionist Gallery has been renovated and redesigned what was a necessity because the previous cafeteria was rather bad.
    The Café de l'Ours floor 0 at the far end of the Nave offers a self-service selection.

    PHOTOS.
    Sadly enough photos are no more allowed inside the museum since 2010.
    All photos from paintings I show are from my visits before 2010.

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    Van Gogh at Musée d'Orsay.

    by breughel Updated Jan 26, 2014

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    Since the renovation works the Van Gogh paintings have been moved downstairs to the Niveau Médian 2 in rooms 71 and 72.
    Unfortunately from the 25 works the Musée d'Orsay has on its catalogue, only twelve were on display among with my favorites:
    "La nuit étoilée", "L'église d'Auvers-sur-Oise, vue du chevet", "Chaumes de Cordeville à Auvers-sur-Oise", "Le docteur Paul Gachet".
    But my favored "Les roulottes, campement de bohémiens aux environs d'Arles" or "Fritillaires couronne impériale dans un vase de cuivre" are not on display! Why?
    I would recommend to art lovers who come from afar to see specific paintings to consult the website of the Musée d'Orsay at Interactive Floor Plan - Map Searching the Gallery to find out if the painting(s) they want to see are present at the museum.

    For me Van Gogh represents as much in my initiation to art as Pieter Bruegel: I discovered Van Gogh, when I was 7 years old, from reproductions of his works in a calendar. I presume that these paintings now at Orsay "impregnated" me when I was a kid and opened my liking for impressionism.

    From his early period in Holland there are two paintings on display in room 72. The "Tête de paysanne hollandaise" is not what I like most with Van Gogh. It is clear that his art improved when he reached Paris and assimilated the style of the Impressionist trend.
    It appears that the talent of Van Gogh developed in the same proportion as the intensity of the sunlight. The summit is reached under the sun of the Provence.

    Writing this tip I looked at the comment of CatherineReichhardt "OK, I FINALLY get van Gogh" and can only regret that she is no more writing on VT . Cathy is now back on VT.

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    RENOIR - Les danseurs.

    by breughel Updated Apr 15, 2011

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    This long tip was written in French and separately in English at a time where VT limited the number of characters.

    Le musée d'Orsay comporte une belle collection d'œuvres de d'Auguste Renoir dont deux grands tableaux de danseurs m'ont impressionné dès ma première visite.
    Il s'agit de "Danse à la campagne" et "Danse à la ville" (1883) appartenant à la deuxième période appelée "Ingresque" ou "sèche" parce que le dessin se fait plus net, le contour plus précis que dans sa première période "impressionniste" (1864-1883). En cette année Renoir écrit "J'étais allé jusqu'au bout de l'impressionnisme et j'arrivais à cette constatation que je ne savais ni peindre ni dessiner." Etonnant cette remise en cause de ce maître de l'art impressionniste.
    Il en résulta trois tableaux de couples de danseurs dont deux ici au musée d'Orsay, salle 39, le troisième à Boston.
    J'ai été particulièrement séduit par ces couples danseurs. L'homme penché en avant murmure des choses tendres à l'oreille de sa compagne; elle, belle femme aux cheveux d'un roux naturel, se tient bien droite. L'on sait qu'il s'agit de Suzanne Valadon qui fut également modèle de Puvis de Chavannes, de Toulouse-Lautrec et devint elle-même peintre et mère du peintre Utrillo.

    Après sa courte période "ingresque" de 1883 à 1890, Renoir entre dans sa période "nacrée"
    Le terme désigne bien la forme, couleur, lumière et volupté de cette période pendant laquelle il peint de nombreuses "baigneuses".
    Dans la même salle 39 se trouvent deux très beaux tableaux de sa période nacrée: "Jeunes filles au piano" (1892) et "Grand nu" (1907).

    Renoir fut un peintre très prolifique: plus de 4000 tableaux!

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    RENOIR - The dances.

    by breughel Updated Jul 27, 2012

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    The museum of Orsay contains a beautiful collection of Auguste Renoir's works among which the two large paintings with dancers impressed me from my first visit here.
    "Dance in the country" and "Dance in the city" (1883) belong to the second period called "Ingresque" or "dry" of Renoir. The drawing is more net, the outline more precise than with his first "impressionistic" period (1864-1883).
    Renoir wrote "I had gone up to the end of the impressionism and I arrived to the observation that I did not know how to paint or draw." Amazing this questioning by a master of the impressionistic art!

    He painted three couples of dancers among whom two are here on display in the museum of Orsay the third is in Boston.
    I was particularly seduced by these couples of dancers. The man leaning forwards murmurs soft things to the ear of his partner; she, beautiful woman, red-haired, follows with elegance the movement of the music (a waltz?).
    We know that she is Suzanne Valadon who was also a model for Puvis de Chavannes and Toulouse-Lautrec and became herself a painter and mother of the painter Utrillo.

    After his short "ingresque" period from 1883 till 1890, Renoir enters his period "nacrée - pearly" The term represents very well the shape, the colour, the light and the sensual delight of this period during which he paints numerous "baigneuses - the bathers".
    In the same room 39 are two other beautiful paintings of his pearly period - "période nacrée"
    "Jeunes filles au piano" (1892) and "Grand nu" (1907).

    Renoir was a very prolific painter: more than 4000 paintings!

    NOTE : In July 2008 "Dance in the Country" was not at Orsay but travelling around the world.

    MOST UNFORTUNATELY WHEN I VISITED END OF MARCH 2012 THEY HAD AGAIN LEFT ORSAY TO GO DANCING SOMEWHERE ABROAD. THEY SHOULD BE BACK END OF MAY.

    Open 9.30 - 18 h (on Thursday 21.45 h). Closed on Monday.
    Tickets can be bought from 9 h on.
    Price 9 €. Reduced 18 - 25 yr 6,50 €. Free less than 18 yr or 18 - 25 yr from the EU .

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    An Impressionist Triptych.

    by breughel Updated Jul 2, 2011

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    Orsay - Sisley, Pissarro, Monet
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    The museum has put together in one frame 3 landscape paintings of different impressionist painters: Sisley, Pissarro and Monet (from left to right) forming a kind of triptych.
    The style of these three impressionist painters is very close in these landscapes; the visitor might hesitate about who belongs to whom. In other works Monet marks his difference with Pissaro or Sisley.

    In this large room 32 from the upper level are many other paintings all of excellent quality from Monet, Pissaro, Sisley and Renoir. I dare say it is the best room of the upper level.
    Among my favoured paintings in this room 32 there are the "Régates à Argentueil" from Monet, from Pissarro "la Bergère" and from Sisley the famous "Inondations à Port-Marly". There is also that highlight of Renoir "Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette" with the wonderful play of sunny spots and shade.

    Open 9.30 - 18 h (on Thursday 21.45 h). Closed on Monday.
    Tickets can be bought from 9 h on.
    Price 8 €. Reduced 18 - 30 yr 5,50 €. Free less than 18 yr or 18 - 25 yr from the EU .

    TRANSFORMATIONS IN 2011 ! SEE MY NEW TIP
    LEVEL 5 IS CLOSED.


    =================================

    Triptyque impressionniste.

    Avoir réuni en un seul cadre 3 tableaux de différents peintres impressionnistes comme Sisley "L'île Saint-Denis", Pissarro "Entrée de village de Voisins" et Monet "Bateaux de plaisance" (de gauche à droite) est une idée originale. On a là un véritable triptyque de paysages de l'école impressionniste.
    On remarquera que les styles et la facture de ces trois tableaux de peintres différents sont très proches à tel point qu'on peut hésiter à définir qui appartient à qui.
    Il est évident que ces trois oeuvres ont été groupées à cause de leur ressemblance et qu'un Monet, par exemple, s'écartera fortement de ce style dans bien d'autres œuvres. Personnellement en matière de paysages mon préféré est Sisley.

    Cette grande salle 32 comporte bien d'autres belles œuvres de Monet, Pissarro et Sisley ainsi que le merveilleux "Bal au Moulin de la Galette" avec les jeux d'ombre et de lumière qui font de ce tableau l'un des plus appréciés de Renoir.

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    Vincent Van Gogh at Orsay.

    by breughel Updated Jul 2, 2011

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    Van Gogh is well represented by 20 works in room 35 at the upper level of Orsay.
    I prefer these works to most of those I saw recently at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (ref. my Amsterdam tip). The quality of all the 20 works of room 35 is excellent with highlights such as "Les roulottes, campement de bohémiens aux environs d'Arles" (photo 1), "L'église d'Auvers-sur-Oise, vue du chevet" (photo 2), "Fritillaires couronne impériale dans un vase de cuivre" (photo 3) and the portrait of "Le docteur Paul Gachet" (photo 4).
    But there is more for me: I discovered Van Gogh, when I was 7 years old, from reproductions of these works in a calendar. I presume that these paintings now at Orsay "impregnated" me when I was a kid and opened my liking for impressionism.

    Open 9.30 - 18 h (on Thursday 21.45 h). Closed on Monday.
    Tickets can be bought from 9 h on.
    Price 8 €. Reduced 18 - 30 yr 5,50 €. Free less than 18 yr or 18 - 25 yr from the EU .
    It is now possible to buy a combined ticket Musée d'Orsay and Musée Rodin and at 12 €.
    It is also possible to get a combined ticket Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie at 13 € valid from Wednesday till Sunday.

    TRANSFORMATIONS IN 2011 ! SEE MY NEW TIP
    LEVEL 5 IS CLOSED.

    ========================================

    Je préfère les Van Gogh de la salle 35 à Orsay à l'ensemble de ceux que j'ai vu récemment au Musée Van Gogh d'Amsterdam (réf. ma page Amsterdam).
    Pourquoi?
    La qualité de cette vingtaine de Van Gogh est excellente comme "l' Eglise d'Auvers", "Les roulottes", "Fritillaires dans un vase de cuivre" ou encore le portrait de Paul Gachet mais il y a surtout le fait que j'ai découvert Van Gogh, quand j'avais 7 ans, par les reproductions de ces tableaux ci dans un calendrier.
    Je suppose que ce sont ces œuvres actuellement au Musée d'Orsay qui m'ont "imprégné" et m'ont donné le goût pour les impressionnistes en général.

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    Caillebotte, patron of arts and painter.

    by breughel Updated Feb 4, 2014

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    Orsay - G. Caillebotte
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    Before my first visit to the Musée d'Orsay I ignored who was Gustave Caillebotte.
    Today I am grateful to this generous sponsor of impressionistic painters such as Degas, Monet and Renoir and collector of impressionist art who bequeathed to the French State 67 paintings of which 27 were refused by the National Museums who considered these paintings as "drift of an unhealthy art"!
    In those times (1896) the public and administrations were less fond of impressionism than a century later.

    But Caillebotte was also a talented painter who painted about 500 works in a style often more realistic than that of his impressionistic friends.
    The painter Caillebotte became famous for his sights of the streets of Paris made since balconies, for scenes of the labour life such as the "Raboteurs de parquet - parquet planers" , for landscapes of gardens and parks.
    He was a rich man, a naval architect what explains that he often painted nautical scenes as he participated to regattas.

    Open 9.30 - 18 h (on Thursday 21.45 h). Closed on Monday.
    Tickets can be bought from 9 h on.
    Price (2014) 11 €. . Free less than 18 yr or 18 - 25 yr from the EU .

    All my photos are from before 2010.


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    Mécène et peintre.
    J'ignorais qui était Gustave Caillebotte avant ma première visite au Musée d'Orsay. Aujourd'hui j'ai de la reconnaissance pour ce mécène généreux envers les peintres impressionnistes et collectionneur qui légua à l'Etat Français 67 tableaux mais dont les Musées Nationaux refusèrent 27 tableaux considérés comme "dérives d'un art malsain". A l'époque (1896) on était moins friand d'impressionnisme qu'un siècle plus tard.
    Mais Caillebotte était aussi un peintre talentueux qui peignit quelque 500 oeuvres dans un style souvent plus réaliste que celui de ses amis impressionnistes.
    L'œuvre la plus célèbre est bien sur "les Raboteurs de parquet" .
    Cette salle comporte d'autres belles œuvres de Caillebotte.

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    Sculptures.

    by breughel Updated Feb 4, 2014

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    Orsay - Petite fille pleurant, Albert Bartholom��.
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    The museum of Orsay presents 200 sculptures of the 19th century in the central aisle, the terraces Lille, Seine and Rodin as well as in room 59.
    If you have no time to visit the Rodin museum you will find numerous works of him at the Musée d'Orsay as well as the sculptors Maillol, Bourdelle, Bernard and many others in all styles.
    My favourite work is Albert Bartholomé's magnificent bronze statue "crying little girl" (1894).
    A wide show case is completely dedicated to Edgar Degas sculptures, mainly ballerina's among which the famous "Petite danseuse de 14 ans" a bronze statue in diverse colourings, with a tutu in tulle and pink ribbon in her hair. The original wax statue was strongly criticized for her hyperrealism at an exhibition in 1881.The bronze statue was made after the death of Edgar Degas.

    Open 9.30 - 18 h (on Thursday 21.45 h). Closed on Monday.
    Tickets can be bought from 9 h on.
    Price (2014) 11€. Free less than 18 yr or 18 - 25 yr from the EU .

    ========================================

    Le musée d'Orsay présente près de 200 sculptures du 19e siècle dans l'allée centrale, les terrasses Lille, Seine et Rodin ainsi que dans la salle 59. Si vous n'avez pas le temps de visiter le musée Rodin vous trouverez de nombreuses œuvres à Orsay ainsi que les sculpteurs Maillol, Bourdelle, Bernard et bien d'autres dans tous les styles.
    Mon œuvre préférée est une merveilleuse statue en bronze d'Albert Bartholomé "Petite fille pleurant" (1894).
    Au niveau supérieur, salle 31, une large vitrine est entièrement consacrée à des œuvres d'Edgar Degas principalement des danseuses dont la fameuse "Petite danseuse de 14 ans" une statue en bronze avec patine aux diverses colorations, avec tutu en tulle et ruban rose dans les cheveux.
    A l'époque (1881) cette statue réaliste à l'origine en cire fut fortement critiquée; on lui trouva un visage "marque d'un caractère particulièrement vicieux"!
    L'édition en bronze fut faite après la mort de Degas; la statuette du musée d'Orsay est un exemplaire.

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    My favourite museum.

    by breughel Updated Jul 2, 2011

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    Alone at Orsay !
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    TRANSFORMATIONS IN 2010 and 2011 ! SEE MY NEW TIP
    LEVEL 5 IS CLOSED.

    You will have understood from my comments on Orsay, that this is my preferred museum for the quality of the exposed works but also for the architecture of the former station of Orsay. I like the complexity of the plan, the level differences, the big clock, the views.
    But the museum is also a victim of its success (3 million visitors in 2006). To avoid crowds I arrive at the opening at 09.30h at the entrance for the museum pass holders; from there I walk directly by the central aisle of the ground floor to the bottom of the museum on the left side. Behind the wall is an escalator which rises directly to the level 5 so that I start my visit in an almost empty part (for some time at least - photo 1).
    Another pleasure with this museum is the restaurant at the median level (restaurant from the former station hotel, photo 2).
    Magnificent decor, correct food, efficient often kind service, normal prices for Paris. The painted décor of the ceiling and walls is of Benjamin Constant and Gabriel Ferrier. I advise you to arrive at the opening at 11.45 am. Tearoom in the after noon and dinner on Thursdays evening.

    Open 9.30 - 18 h (on Thursday 21.45 h). Closed on Monday.
    Tickets can be bought from 9 h on.
    Price 8 €. Reduced 18 - 30 yr 5,50 €. Free less than 18 yr or 18 - 25 yr from the EU .
    It is now possible to buy a combined ticket Musée d'Orsay and Musée Rodin at 12 €.
    It is also possible to get a combined ticket Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie at 13 € valid from Wednesday till Sunday.



    =======================================

    Mon musée favori.

    NOUVEAU: TRANSFORMATIONS EN 2010 et 2011. Voir mon nouveau commentaire.

    Vous aurez compris, si vous avez lu mes commentaires, que c'est mon musée préféré à Paris, pour la qualité des œuvres exposées mais aussi pour l'architecture de l'ancienne gare d'Orsay. J'aime la complexité du plan, les différences de niveau, la grande horloge, la salle des Fêtes ou le restaurant.
    J'apprécie l'éclairage diffus et naturel venant du plafond au niveau 5 qui permet de bonnes photos.
    Pour éviter les foules je monte directement par l'escalator au fond du musée au niveau 5 des impressionnistes. Je commence ainsi la visite par une partie presque vide (pendant quelque temps - photo 1).

    L'autre plaisir est le restaurant au niveau médian aménagé dans l'ancien l'hôtel de la gare. Cadre splendide, nourriture correcte, service efficace souvent aimable, prix normaux pour Paris. Le décor peint est de Benjamin-Constant et Gabriel Ferrier.

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    The renovated Musée d'Orsay.

    by breughel Updated Jan 27, 2014

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    Van Gogh
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    Now that the Musée d'Orsay has been renovated I made a new visit end March 2012 and in August 2013 to see the results.
    First point is that the paintings are now on display on walls with a dark grey color with a touch of violet in it. Before the walls were clear.

    But the most important innovation is the separation between the Impressionists Manet, Degas, Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Sisley, etc.. remaining at Level 5 in rooms 29 to 37 and the Post-Impressionists Van Gogh, Gauguin and the School of Pont-Aven, Cross, Seurat, Henri Rousseau coming down to the level 2, on the rue de Lille side in rooms 67 to 72.
    This has the advantage of better distribution of visitors who previously congregated at Level 5 to see the Impressionists and the twenty Van Gogh at Orsay .

    At Level 0 things have not changed too much and I could find some beloved paintings that make me visit regularly this museum. But I had some disappointment because of some missing highlights. I mentioned already this before. A number of them like the two "Danses" from Renoir and the "la Pie -the Magpie" from Monet are travelling abroad.
    I would recommend to art lovers who come from afar to see specific paintings to consult the website of the Musée d'Orsay at Interactive Floor Plan - Map Searching the Gallery to find out if the painting(s) they want to see are present at the museum.

    Even if I missed some of my favored paintings I discovered some which I hadn't seen before like that Van Gogh "La nuit étoilée sur le Rhône" in room 71 at Level 2 (not to confuse with the "Starry Night" at the MOMA NYC). A real marvel which has been travelling on all continents so that I had not seen it before.

    And then in the Symbolist Gallery at Level 0 I felt in love with a "Jeune Femme Rousse" by Charles Maurin. A very sad love story for me because that portrait is from 1889 so that this young red-haired woman I felt in love with is no more among the alive!

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    OK, I FINALLY get van Gogh ...

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Mar 31, 2012

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    Detail of the railway clock at Mus��e d��rsay

    Given my well documented love of railway stations and enjoyment of 'popular' (some would venture 'middlebrow') art, there was never really any doubt that I was going to enjoy the Musée d'Orsay. What I find most bamboozling is why it took me half a lifetime of adult travel (and a couple of dozen visits to Paris) to make it there!

    For fear of stating the obvious, Musée d'Orsay is an art museum that has been established in a beautifully restored railway station on the Left Bank of the Seine and is exclusively devoted to the work of the Impressionists. Because Impressionist art is popular and fairly 'accessible' in its subject matter, the museum is hugely popular with both locals and tourists, and I think that one of the reasons why I've been reluctant to visit before now is that I was simply nervous at the prospect of braving the crowds.

    After a few minutes in Musée d'Orsay, you start to feel like you've been wrapped in a cosy blanket, fuelled by a smug glow of self satisfaction as you realise that you actually recognise a good deal of the art on display. It doesn't matter that you last saw that picture on a calender or a greetings card or a biscuit tin: the point is that it's familiar to you, and you can even distinguish between the Degas and the Monet. Joking aside, I think that this is hugely important, as there's a lot of elitist crap talked about art - often couched in terms that are meant to exclude and intimidate - whereas ultimately what's really important is whether it appeals to you and whether or not you can relate to it.

    Without meaning to trivialise what is an extraordinary collection, wandering around Musée d'Orsay is really like the 'Greatest Hits' compilation of 19th and early 20th century art. The quality of the exhibits is astounding, and however familiar you might be with a painting in reproduction, to see the colour and brushwork up close adds an entirely different dimension to the work. I have always been a sucker for Degas ballerinas and Renoir's poppy strewn cornfields, but I had never begun to understand the appeal of van Gogh until I saw "Starry Night Over The Rhone" up close. NOW I FINALLY GET IT!!!

    I cannot recommend this museum highly enough as one of Paris' absolute 'must sees' - right up there with my all time Parisian favourite, the Musée Rodin. I personally find it preferable to the Louvre because it has a consistent theme and is a manageable size: by contrast, the enormity and vast range of content in the Louvre collection makes me exhausted just to think about it. If you are travelling en famille, it would also be much more accessible to children than the Louvre - indeed, on the day I visited, there were lots of kids who were apparently having a good time.

    Despite my misgivings (and admittedly on a cold, damp Sunday in late February), the queues were not too fearsome, and a welcome characteristic is that the ticket will allow you to leave and re enter the museum on the day that you visit, so that you can take a break from the sensory overload.

    P.S. If you would like the definitive (and yet accessible) guide to Paris' art treasures, you could do no better than to explore the wonderful Paris page developed by brueghel ... so good that I occasionally take a browse for my own cultural edification, even if I don't have a trip to Paris planned!

    Update (October 2011): If you're an art enthusiast, then chances are that you'll also consider visiting the wonderful Rodin museum whilst you're in Paris. If so, bear in mind that it is possible to buy a combined 'passport' for Musee d'Orsay and Musee Rodin, which offers a reduction on the entry fees - see the website below for more details - or just bite the bullet and buy the Paris Museum pass (see my other travel tip).

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Missing highlights - Oeuvres manquantes.

    by breughel Updated Dec 6, 2009

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    Orsay - Alfred Stevens
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    NEW. TRANSFORMATIONS IN 2010! SEE MY NEW TIP.

    At the time of a new visit in July 2008 I had difficulties in finding some of my preferred works. One of the Renoir's “Dances" was no more in the museum. Other works had been moved inside the museum. My references to the rooms where certain works were exposed in 2007 can thus be erroneous.

    But the worst awaited me at the ground floor in the rooms devoted to the realistic or naturalists schools. The famous nude “The Origin of the World” by Courbet has disappeared!
    First I thought that some bigots or integrists had obliged the Museum to withdraw this audacious nude (see my review of "Scandalous nudes in Orsay").
    Information taken at the “Friends of the Museum” showed that this nude of Courbet as well as my loved Renoir's "Dance in the Country" are travelling, initially to New York and now Taipei.

    The outside loan of these works yield much money for the Museum but the visitors coming from far away to admire them are dissatisfied by their absence.

    In August 2009, I saw that this famous nude was back at Orsay but not the Renoir's "Dance à la Campagne".

    Among the “Realistic paintings” of this room 15 I liked works of Alfred Stevens and Carolus-Duran.

    ==============================

    Lors d'une visite récente j'eus quelques difficultés à retrouver certaines de mes oeuvres préférées. Ainsi l'un des deux Renoir "Danse à la Campagne" n'était plus dans le musée. D'autres œuvres avaient été déplacées à l'intérieur même du musée. Mes références aux salles où sont exposées certaines œuvres décrites dans mes tips de 2007 peuvent donc être erronées.

    Mais le pire m'attendait au rez-de-chaussée dans les salles consacrées aux écoles réalistes ou naturalistes: le fameux nu "L'origine du monde" par Courbet a disparu!

    J'ai d'abord pensé a une menace d'attentat par quelque groupuscule intégriste (ces choses arrivent en Europe) ayant obligé le Musée à retirer ce nu audacieux (voir ma revue des nus à Orsay). Renseignement pris auprès des "Amis du Musée" cette œuvre ainsi que mon Renoir bien aimé sont en voyage, d'abord à New York et maintenant Taipei.
    Le prêt de ces œuvres à l'extérieur rapporte beaucoup d'argent au Musée mais leur absence mécontente les visiteurs venus de loin pour les admirer.

    En août 2009 j'ai pu constater que le nu "L'origine du monde" de Courbet était de retour.

    Parmi les "Réalistes" de cette salle 15 j'ai aimé des œuvres d'Alfred Stevens et de Carolus-Duran.
    .

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Don't Miss the Musée d'Orsay

    by Beausoleil Updated Aug 9, 2013

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    View of the d
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    Update: There was serious renovation going on 2010 and 2011 so many works were touring during this time period. Also, and importantly, the museum has changed its policy on photography. No photos are allowed in the museum. Here is my "rough" translation of why: "It is forbidden to photograph and film in the Museum. To preserve the comfort of visit and works as security, it is now forbidden to photograph or film in the rooms of the Museum. This measure is particularly linked to the proliferation of the "end of arm" shots via mobile phones. Reproductions of most of the works from the collections can be downloaded from the site (catalogue of works, including commented works)." In English: Photo Policy in the Musée d'Orsay

    Regarding the renovation time span: "In 2012, further small galleries will in turn be transformed. We will then tackle the spaces on the median level on the Seine side. All the renovation work should be finished around 2015." The museum is open during ongoing work and should not be missed.

    Original Tip:
    The Musée d'Orsay is a transformed train station and the architecture is nearly as fascinating as the art collection inside. The former Gare d'Orsay, closed to trains in 1973, was inaugurated as a museum in 1986 by then-President Mitterrand.

    This is where the Impressionists are exhibited, where you find Van Gogh, Pisarro, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Seurat, Millet, sculpture by Rodin and the list goes on.

    Many people expect these paintings to be in the Louvre and are disappointed when they don't see them. If you are looking for them, be sure to visit the d'Orsay and enjoy. Be sure to climb to the top floor and view the inside of the museum. Also view Sacre Coeur from behind the very large window clock facing the basilique on a hill. It's a magnificent view of Paris.

    It can get very crowded inside the museum so we like to go a bit later in the day and start at the top floor and work our way down. One of my husband's favorites is "The Angelus" by Millet and we always visit that before we leave.

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Highlights to visit in a few hours.

    by breughel Updated Jul 30, 2008

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    Orsay - Renoir

    FORUM REPLY.

    "A couple of hours" at the Musée d'Orsay is much better than no time.

    The questions of highlights is most difficult. All paintings and sculptures are of great quality but the style varies with the period and school of art.
    Most popular are certainly the "Impressionists" on the upper floor. Start with them.

    On the website of www.musee-orsay.fr you should consult "Collections" and then "Works in Focus" to get a first idea but there are 500 what does not simplify the choice for a first visit.
    You will also find on VT pages Paris "things to do" "Musée d'Orsay" about 300 reviews by VT members. They will give you personal appreciations of the works liked by other visitors.
    Of course this are most subjective reviews, you should not like "Dances" from Renoir or the "Magpie" from Monet because an amateur here on VT likes them.

    Here I come to the basics of visiting Musée d'Orsay, one of the best painting museums in the world. Walk around, stop at what attracts you, look at it and get a "coup de foudre".
    Now if you have no time to see and admire it all, come back. Once you will have fallen in love with the Musée d'Orsay you will come back to Paris just for this museum.

    Bon voyage.

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