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Musée d'Orsay

Musée d'Orsay
Main Hall of the Musée d'Orsay
Musée d'Orsay is located in Paris
Musée d'Orsay
Location of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris
Established 1986
Location Rue de Lille 75343 Paris, France
Type Art museum, Design/Textile Museum, Historic site[1]

3.0 million (2009)[2]

Director Serge Lemoine
Public transit access Solférino
Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay (French pronunciation: ​) is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum's opening in 1986.


  • History 1
  • Collection 2
    • Paintings: major painters and works represented 2.1
    • Sculptures 2.2
    • Other works 2.3
  • Selected collection highlights 3
  • Management 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Musée d'Orsay as seen from the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor
Musée d'Orsay Clock, Victor Laloux, Main Hall
The interior of the museum.

The museum building was originally a railway station, Gare d'Orsay, constructed for the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans and finished in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle to the design of three architects: Lucien Magne, Émile Bénard and Victor Laloux. It was the terminus for the railways of southwestern France until 1939.

By 1939 the station's short platforms had become unsuitable for the longer trains that had come to be used for mainline services. After 1939 it was used for suburban services and part of it became a mailing centre during World War II. It was then used as a set for several films, such as Kafka's The Trial adapted by Orson Welles, and as a haven for the RenaudBarrault Theatre Company and for auctioneers, while the Hôtel Drouot was being rebuilt.

In 1970, permission was granted to demolish the station but Bouygues.[3] In 1981, the Italian architect, Gae Aulenti was chosen to design the interior including the internal arrangement, decoration, furniture and fittings of the museum. Finally in July 1986, the museum was ready to receive its exhibits. It took 6 months to install the 2000 or so paintings, 600 sculptures and other works. The museum officially opened in December 1986 by then-president, François Mitterrand.

Orsay Museum, seen from the right bank of the Seine river

The square next to the museum displays six bronze allegorical sculptural groups in a row, originally produced for the Exposition Universelle (1878):


Paul Cézanne:
Apples and Oranges
circa 1899

Paintings: major painters and works represented


Major sculptors includes François Rude, Jules Cavelier, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Auguste Rodin, Paul Gauguin, Camille Claudel and Honoré Daumier.

Other works

It also holds collections of:

  • architecture and decorative arts
  • photography

Selected collection highlights


The Directors have been:

  • Françoise Cachin: 1986–1994
  • Henri Loyrette: 1994–2001
  • Serge Lemoine: 2001–2008
  • Guy Cogeval: March 2008–present

See also


  1. ^ "Musée d'Orsay: About". ARTINFO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  2. ^ "Exhibition and museum attendance figures 2009". London:  
  3. ^ "Bouygues website: Musée d'Orsay". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 

External links

  • Official site
  • Official site (French)
  • Orsay Museum - Musalia
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