Musee d’Orsay

It is good advice to visit the d’Orsay in the mid-afternoon when the tours have gone (thank you DK Guide) . Thursday is late closing too, so you don’t have to feel rushed. Stamina is required, however. The museum is much more extensive than I remembered from last time (2013 I think).

Here’s a clue that it was once a railway station:

I was keen to revisit the art nouveau section which had impressed me.

The furniture seems to follow the curves of the tree.

It is about the whole building, according to the audio commentary; you couldn’t place it out of context and expect a happy result. But wouldn’t you do great work at a desk like this? Look at those drawer handles!

This bench was part of an art nouveau building, and you can see it needed that context:

The detail is integral. Here, the hooks on this hat and umbrella stand are like vine leaves, gentle on your hat I would expect.

There were slug handles on a book cabinet.

And happy readers on the top:

I think this was by a female artist…can anyone confirm? Reminiscent of Klimt with its gold detailing.

One of the designers featured was also the designer of the famous art nouveau metro signs.

Now I am behind the clock with a view of Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur.

The Impressionist section was crowded, unsurprisingly. We have a tendency to gravitate to the familiar, to see the originals.

I’ve had a large block-mounted print from this Renoir series since I was a university student and can’t bring myself to part with it.

A print of the card players by Cezanne hung in the Girls’ High corridor leading to the art room when I was a student there. I was impressed only by the incongruity of a picture of men smoking and playing cards. We had some wise teachers.

Still, I prefer the still life to the right.

Another view through the clock, this one across the Seine to the Louvre. I’m not planning to visit the Louvre this time after many previous visits – unless someone would like to change my mind…

There were sculptures, symbolist paintings, endless galleries on multiple levels and on each side of an open atrium space.

Stamina was required, as shown by these women holding up the world:

That’s Africa on the left, her chains broken to symbolise the abolition of slavery. America is on the right with the headdress.

The other side shows Asia on the right, the other…the Baltic states, perhaps? My DK Guide says Oceania was left out for reasons of symmetry!

Speaking of the Baltic States, there was an exhibition of paintings from there, called Ames Sauvages. I was hoping to see some Scandinavian art, but it was mostly Estonian or Lithuanian. This birch forest reminded me of Scandinavia:

And, finally, there was Van Gogh – a troubled soul himself although this painting gives no hint of that – or are those bright flowers beginning to droop?

I was a little grumpy about the lack of female painters represented. It was good to see these formidable women outside:

True to form, I was distracted from my walk back to the hotel by Boulevard St Germain, a bookshop,

and Angelina cafe at the entrance to Jardin du Luxembourg. It was hot, I was in need of an iced chocolate and, oh well, a citrus tart to go with it.

There were more women playing pétanque today.

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