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"Musee d'Orsay - Overview" Musée d'Orsay Tip by aliante1981

Musée d'Orsay, Paris: 274 reviews and 558 photos


Architects created one of the world's great museums from an old rail station, the neoclassical Gare d'Orsay, across the Seine from the Louvre and the Tuileries. The Orsay boasts an astounding collection devoted to the watershed years 1848 to 1914, with a treasure trove by the big names plus all the lesser-known groups (the symbolists, pointillists, nabis, realists, and late Romantics – I do not know in detail what half of these lesser known movements are). The 80 galleries also include Belle Epoque furniture, photographs, objets d'art, and architectural models. Now, I’ve been always told that several Russian museums hold a considerable collections of Impressionists and Post – Impressionists, but after visiting Musee d’Orsay I see clearly that they are not quite in the same league.

The Orsay is covered by an arching glass roof allowing in floods of light – a necessary arrangement as most of the painters whose masterpieces are on display considered colours (and light, consequently) of paramount importance to their works. The Musee d’Orsay displays works ranging from the creations of academic and historic painters like Ingres (La Source) to Romanticists like Delacroix (Tiger Hunt), to neo-realists like Courbet and Daumier. The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, including Manet, Monet, Cézanne, van Gogh, and Renoir (I have put in separate tips on the works by these folk shown in Orsay Museum) share space with the fauves, Matisse, the cubists, and the expressionists in a setting once used by Orson Welles to film a nightmarish scene in The Trial, based on Kafka's unfinished novel. You'll find Millet's sunny wheat fields, Barbizon landscapes, Corot's mists, and parti-colored Tahitian Gauguins all in the same hall.

But it's the Impressionists who draw the crowds. When the nose-in-the-air Louvre chose not to display their works, a great rival was born. I bet Louvre’s consumed with envy – who wouldn’t be?? But, on the other hand, Louvre’s got enough on its plate, right?

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris
Directions: Near Quai Anatole France.
Phone: +33 1 40 49 48 14

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  • Written Aug 3, 2003
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