Views and Paintings

It’s hard to beat a stroll through the Orsay Museum, once a train station that they had to foresight to preserve and use.

A look down at the main gallery from up above. You can see that it was once a train station.

You can see Sacre Coeur on top of Montmartre from various windows.

I love the color of the dresses on these dancer by Degas.

Lots of sculptures to see.

That beautiful clock.



I went in the final days to the Orsay Museum to see an exhibition of an artist unknown to me named Frédéric Bazille. He went to medical school as his parents wanted but ended up in art school and eventually became friends with Monet, Manet, Sisley and Renoir. He often shared apartments with them and, because he wasn’t a starving artist, provided studios and art equipment for them. He joined the military in the Franco-Prussian war where he was killed and died at the age of 28. The exhibit showed many of his works and also showed those painted in the same place by his friends, along with Cezanne and Pissoro. He might have become even more famous than them, had he lived.

A self portrait.

Excuse me for not cropping my photos. This shows one of his studios where he and his friends worked. They often shared models. The is him in the right corner playing the piano. He was also a very good musician.

The Girl in the Pink Dress. This was a cousin of his looking at a view. He loved painting out in the open air with natural light.

This was my favorite painting of his that I saw. In person it looked like a photograph. Really amazing.

A good view in the room where the exhibit was.

The Orsay

One of my favorite museums is the Orsay. I especially love Impressionism and you can find just about every famous artist represented here. Part of the art is the museum itself as it is an old renovated train station full of interesting details.

img_1793 At the opposite end of the entrance is this cutaway of the Garnier Opera House. It shows how small the concert hall is compared to the rest of the building. I’d love to get a behind the scenes tours there one of these days.

img_1799 There are two huge clocks showing the time from outside but you can also get this incredible look at it from behind along with a view of Paris outside.

img_1803 Happily, they allow photography inside once more. This is by Cezanne.

img_1805 Degas. It was considered very controversial when first exhibited.

img_1806 This was controversial too, I guess because it showed common workers without shirts working. I just love the light. Note the wine bottle next to the worker on the right.

img_1810 A look at the restaurant in the museum.

The Spectacular Second Empire

 There is an interesting exhibit at the Orsay Museum called the Spectacular Second Empire 1852 to 1870 which gives a look at was called the “fête imperial”, an era of pleasure that was corrupted by wealth and sent many people who protested into exile, such as Victor Hugo, and 6,000 into prisons. A strong economy and a stable imperial regime resulted when Louis-Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon I, was elected the first President of the French Republic in December 1848 after a life spent in exile in England. His wife, Eugenie, became a fashion icon and championed the luxury goods industry and helped make Paris the entertainment capital of Europe. For example, she used Louis Vuitton for her luggage which led to his world wide fame. Charles Garnier’s new Opera House, the most famous and spectacular monument in Haussman Paris done during Napoleon III’s time, is an example of the massive redesign of Paris. The first department stores were opened during his reign, Bon Marche in 1852, followed by Au Printemps in 1865. 
 On display are some of the furniture, porcelain, and jewellery used or worn by the couple. There are many paintings on display as well. In the early Second Empire, few artists could compete with the artists Ingres and Winterhalter but during the 1860’s a new generation of painters emerged-Manet, Tissot, Degas and Cézanne-who made their name with full length portraits.
 The Second Empire ended with the defeat of France in the French-Prussian War and the capture of Napoleon III and the couple spent the rest of their lives in England and are, in fact, buried there.


A painting of Eugenie.


They had a son who slept in this elaborate bed, the most expensive piece of furniture made during this period worked on by many French artisans.

img_1783 Napoleon III.

img_1782 Some of Eugenie’s crowns.

img_1785 By Manet, Picnic on the Grass. It was rejected by the French Academy and instead put into le Salon des Refuses, an exhibit for more unconventional paintings such as this. It was controversial because the men were of the day it was painted bringing into question the nude woman, perhaps a prostitute? Anyway, it is pretty famous these days. I don’t know about you but I often go nude when on a picnic.

More Orsay

There is more at the Orsay Museum than the Impressionists. They also have a very interesting display-on three floors-of Art Nouveau furniture.

But first, a famous sculpture by Degas. He spent a lot of time painting and sculpting ballet dancers.

I liked these green chairs against the gray wall.

I wouldn’t mind a bed like this if I had the room.

You can see how large this sculpture is by looking at the man next to it. I took the photo from a platform on the second floor.

Orsay Museum

I made a quick visit to the Orsay Museum the other day to see what had been done in the recent renovation there. It turns out that it’s pretty much the same except that the post Impressionists, such as Van Gogh, have been moved downstairs. They no long allow photos inside so I didn’t get any of art work but they do allow some of the architecture there.

The beautiful clock overhead at the entrance.

A look from above where you can tell the building was once a railroad station, a very elegant one.

You are able to see through two large clocks there.

Sacre Coeur in the distance seen through the clock.

The other clock is in the restaurant.

What the clock looks like from the outside.