Don’t Speak

I went to a very nice exhibit at the Orangerie here in Paris the other day to see an exhibit of American painters from the 1930’s. I’m not sure how this exhibit came about, as I’m not sure the French would be that enamoured with American artists, but I have to say I really enjoyed most of the paintings. My friend and I had just started looking and I leaned down to read the explanation next to a painting and I turned to her and said, “Look, this was painted in Iowa!” when one of the museum guards came up to me and said, “Please don’t speak in here”. Can you believe that? I was speechless at first. I wasn’t talking loudly although most French think that Americans are loud, so I said, “I can’t take photos, and I can’t speak. Can I LOOK?” I was really mad. I think I’m going to call the museum and complain. I’m wondering if it had to do with my being an American. Who knows? In any case, after I cooled down, I enjoyed the exhibit.

img_2059 This is a photo of the catalog for sale in the book shop. This is the first painting you see. This painting is by Grant Wood. There were several by him as well as Georgia O’Keefe and Hopper. It turns out they were brother and sister.

img_2057 Since I couldn’t take photos inside, I took this from the entrance. Such a strange looking couple. I guess they were caught in the Great Depression which many of the paintings depict.

img_2054 They have a permanent exhibit there too. This is by Degas.

img_2061 The Orangerie was once used to keep orange trees placed around the Tuileries Garden inside during winter so there is a lot of glass and light.

img_2063 There are two oval rooms there built just for these giant paintings by Monet of his water lily filled pond.

img_2069 Another wall. He painted many paintings in different light trying to capture every change.

5 thoughts to “Don’t Speak”

  1. You intrigued me with the silence thing. I had to look it up, and while I didn’t find a silence rule on the official website, I did see mentions of it (mostly lamentations about it not being enforced) on Tripadvisor. Go figure. I like the no-photo rule–you can’t look at the paintings without somebody asking you to move so they can snap a photo and move on.
    For some reason, American Gothic speaks to me.

    1. I did find out that the guards fir the exhibit were not Orangerie employees but hired by the exhibit people. It’s not the standard rule for the museum. I was just shocked as I’ve never heard of this before.

  2. I saw this wonderful exhibit in Chicago and visitors were chatting away, so I do not understand the imposed silence rule. We saw the “Freida Kahlo” exhibit at L’Orangerie last year and talking was permitted. Tres bizarre, indeed!

    1. Yes, he did say it in English. I called an complained and found that the guards were hired by the company who organised the tour, not by the Orangerie if that makes a difference. If I had been in a church I would have understood but I still don’t get this. Oh, well.

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