2009-12-25 / Travel

An Interlude in France

Part 5: Orangerie & Orsay Museums
By Warner M. Montgomery Warner@TheColumbiaStar.com

The Musée d’Orsay is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River across from the Louvre Museum. It was a train station until 1970. The Musée d’Orsay is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River across from the Louvre Museum. It was a train station until 1970. My wife Linda loves museums, especially those with art of the masters. That meant that while in Paris we had to see the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Musée d’Orsay, which I will refer to as the Orangerie Museum and the Orsay Museum. We bought a Paris Museum Pass, two days for 30 euros ($45) each.

The Orangerie Museum, located in the Tuileries Garden where Thomas Jefferson courted Maria Cosway, houses Impressionist paintings drenched in natural sunlight. It has works of Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso.

Claude Monet’s Water

Lilies was the main attraction. He painted the huge six–foot–tall, 20–feet–wide masterpieces for the Orangerie Museum when he was almost blind. There were two galleries, each containing four murals. The feeling is like being in his garden surrounded by fog–drenched water, trees, ivy, and water lilies.

This rhino guards the entrance to the Orsay Museum. This rhino guards the entrance to the Orsay Museum. We wandered through Renoir’s paintings of nudes doing everyday activities like bathing and playing the piano. While Linda was admiring a nude, I took a picture of a darling little girl who will someday be a famous model.

Other interesting works of art in the Orangerie were Cézanne’s still–life fruits, Modigliani’s portraits of long–necked women with puckered mouths, and Picasso’s red–toned nudes. I especially liked Andre Derain’s harlequins.

After an hour of Impressionism immersion, we crossed the river to the Orsay Museum, which is in a fantastically–restored train station. The building was saved from the wrecking ball in 1970 to house Paris’ collection of 19th century art. This includes Impressionist paintings plus the world’s best examples of Post–Impressionism, Realism, Conservative, Art Nouveau, and Primitive art. I felt overwhelmed by it all. Linda loved every brush stroke.

Remember this face. Someday she will be a famous model… and I discovered her in the Oranger ie Museum. Remember this face. Someday she will be a famous model… and I discovered her in the Oranger ie Museum. We had lunch in the Orsay Restaurant beneath the giant clock once used by the railroad. A quick stop in the toilette, and we headed for the remaining museums on our list – The Louvre and the Rodin.

(Next week: The Louvre and

Rodin Museums)
Van Gogh’s self portrait was painted while he lived in Paris. It is housed in the Orsay Museum. Van Gogh’s self portrait was painted while he lived in Paris. It is housed in the Orsay Museum.
Who is better looking, Linda or Whistler’s Mother? Both were found in the Orsay Museum in Paris. Who is better looking, Linda or Whistler’s Mother? Both were found in the Orsay Museum in Paris.
Linda admires Renoir nude in the Orsay Museum. Linda admires Renoir nude in the Orsay Museum.

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