November 2, 2010

My "I'm not Leaving" Day

I knew I was in the right place when Vincent's eyes pinned me down. After exiting the Musée d'Orsay Metro stop, the eyes that stare at me every night over dinner had found me again.

Getting into the Musée d'Orsay with my ticket from FNAC was une morceau de gateau. I entered through Door C, checked my bag and marched on in.

The Musée d'Orsay is an absolutely stunning facility. Until the late 30s a train station, this building has been turned into the one of the world’s best art museums focusing on the Impressionists.

Architect Gae Aulenti transformed this building into a museum in 1986. The space inside is light and soaring due to the fact that it was a rail terminus. In my favourite movie, A Very Long Engagement, director Jean Pierre Jeunet is able to turn the gallery back into the train station circa 1920 via CGI.

The Musée d'Orsay has some of the world’s most famous impressionist paintings. Photo-taking is not allowed but I can tell you that Pierre-Auguste Renoir's — Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre is on exhibit. Monet is represented here.  Pissarro, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat are displayed as well. Manet's incredibly famous and widely mimicked Dejeuner sur l’Herbe hangs here as does his Olympia. Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet and the Church at Auvers is here as well as the self-portrait featured above.

The Museum was under renovation but I was able to see every single thing on display. I wrote all over my map of things to tell the boys back home. I felt great; full of promise - very happy and hopeful.  I thought this might be my "I'm not leaving day".

My ticket included admission to L'Orangerie. Across the Seine in the corner of the Tuileries, Monet's Nympheas, murals of his waterlilies, are showcased in the Orangerie's two elliptical rooms. The naturally-lit rooms are very pretty and calm. It was as if people are subdued by the blue and mauve palette Monet used.

But the basement held a surprise for me. There was a huge collection of paintings once owned by collector Paul Guillaume. Everybody from the early 20th Century was there. Rousseau, Matisse, Modigliani, Marie Laurencin, Picasso, Cezanne, Soutine. Really famous examples of pictures I'd only seen in books.

I gawped at the walls for a good long time. Stocked up on post cards and headed across the Tuileries, heading for the famous tearoom - Angelina's. 


Deja Pseu said...

Clever Pup - Lovely photos! have you read "The Judgement of Paris"? I think you might really enjoy it, as it chronicles the rise of the Impressionists. Also, if you haven't visited the Musée Marmottan, check that one out on your next visit. It's a private museum so not on the pass, but worth every penny. An amazing collection of Monet's and other impressionists including Berthe Morissot.

The Clever Pup said...

Yes I have read it. And Olympia by Otto Fredreich too. Very good. Informative.

Diane said...

What a beautiful, curvy space. What's that painted on the wall?

I like Vreeland's book because she brought the time of Renoir - and that particular painting - 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' - to life.

All those impressionists in the same building, I'm surprised it doesn't glow in the dark with all those luminous colours lit within.

What a great trip.

p.s. it sounds like although you had different tables you still enjoyed a meal together. but then I'm quibbling.