Musée d'Orsay

Museum Overview

The Musée d'Orsay is located on the left bank of the Seine River in Paris, France, and is housed in the Gare d'Orsay, a former railway station. The railway station fell out of use as a railway station around the time of World War II, and was used as a film set for a while, among other uses. In 1977, the decision was made to convert it into a museum, and work was completed in 1986. The museum holds primarily French art and has a very large collection of French impressionistic art. There is an auditorium which seats 347 people in which a variety of music, film, and other events are held. From November 2009 until March 2011, the museum is undergoing renovation, and level five will be closed during this time period. All of the works previously held in level five will still be on display.

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The Musée d'Orsay can be accessed via entrances on the rue de la Légion d'Honneur and 62 rue de Lille. The museum is closed on Mondays. On other days, the museum opens at 9:30am. Closing time is 6pm, except on Thursdays, when the museum is open until 9:45. Regular admission price is €8. Children aged 5-18 require a ticket, but there is no charge. Children under 5 do not require a ticket. Those aged 18-25 who are members or residents of an EU state are also granted free admission. Disabled visitors accompanied by another visitor are also granted free admission. Those aged 18-25 who are not residents of an EU member state and visitors who arrive after 4:15pm on days other than Thursday and after 6pm on Thursdays are charged €5.50. Admission is free on the first Sunday of each month.

The Museum's Collection

The Musée d'Orsay has a main square and many galleries. They divide their collections by medium.  The most impressive collection is the collection of paintings. They have paintings by such artists as Van Gogh, Frédéric Bazille, Emile Bernard, Pierre Bonnard, Eugène Boudin, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Maurice Denis, Paul Gauguin, Giovanni Giacometti, Edouard Manet, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Théodore Rousseau, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The collection of paintings is a very thorough sampling of impressionistic and post-impressionistic paintings.

There are a very large number of important artistic sculptures in the Musée d'Orsay, including works like Edgar Degas' Small Dancer Aged 14. There are a number of nude sculptures by Aristide Maillol. Antonin Mercie's David appears here, a tribute to Michelangelo's piece by the same name. Works of François Pompon, Rodin's assistant, also appear in the Musée d'Orsay collection. There are sculptures by Rodin and even a single piece by Renoir, who did very little sculpture.

The Decorative Arts collection of the Musée d'Orsay is where form meets function. In this collection, visitors will see such items as a tray, a candy box, vases, and even furniture. One fascinating item in this collection is a chiffonier by Jean Dampt. The oak construction shows that it was meant for use, but the drawer pulls which are carved mice in different whimsical positions makes this a true piece of art. Similarly, a lady's writing desk by Carlo Bugatti features a spider on one of the drawers and hazelnuts for handles. Visitors might find it unusual that Christopher Dresser's Soup Tureen makes it to the level of art when it seems like a simple cooking pot. Visitors will see a variety of chairs and tables of different styles in this collection.