History of Musee D Orsay

Musee D Orsay Tour
Musee D Orsay Attractions

Musee d Orsay is one of the most popular museums in the world which was originally a train station built for the universal exhibition of 1900. It was built by three architects named Lucien Magne, Émile Bénard and Victor Laloux. Approximately 12,000 tons of metals were used for the construction of the station which outnumbers the metals used to build gigantic Eiffel Tower. The museum displays artworks spanning from 1848 to 1914 over four floors which include paintings, furniture, sculptures, etc.

Musee d Orsay is located on the Left Bank of the River Seine. During the period 1900 to 1936, it was used as a train station and with the advancement of technology, the station got outdated for new models of the train. Therefore the station was kept reserved for the passage of suburban city trains. After the Second World War, the station became a mailing center for sending packages to war prisoners.

In 1970, permission to demolish the station and to build a new hotel instead was granted. But Jacques Duhamel, Minister for Cultural Affairs, ruled against the plans. In 1975, Direction des Musées de France proposed to have an art museum to showcase artworks of the 19th century. Thus in 1978, Musee d Orsay which was going through the possibilities of destruction was listed as a historical monument and renovation works for the museum was started without distracting 19th-century architecture of the building. Finally, in 1986 December 1, French President François Mitterrand officially inaugurated the museum and on December 9, the same year, it was opened for public. More than 20, 000 people had visited the new museum on that day.

Main artworks of Musee d Orsay include ‘A Burial at Ornans’ by Gustave Courbet, ‘Bal du Moulin de la Galette’ by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, ‘Dinner at the Ball’ by Edgar Degas, ‘The Cardplayers’ by Paul Cézanne, etc. A wide variety of artworks which depicts naturalism, romanticism, impressionism, neoclassicism, expressionism, etc. are also displayed at Musee d Orsay.

Another important highlight of the museum is its clock windows. Two clocks, built at the north side of Musse d Orsay, one facing the Seine and the other placed opposite to the Tuileries Garden are traditional parts of the old train station. Visitors can have a stunning view of Paris through these clock windows. Musee d Orsay is the first museum to conduct a photography exhibition in France with a collection of more than 45,000 photographs.

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