Musee d’ Orsay (Paris France)

Musee d’ Orsay is an art museum in Paris that holds French artworks from 1848 to 1915. It has the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, sculptures, photography, and furniture. Because of the museum’s huge collection of artworks, many visitors include this museum in their Paris tours. That is the reason why in the last 26 years, it has welcomed almost 75 million visitors.

Photo caption: Musee d’ Orsay Paris, France façade


Located at 62 Rue de Lille in Paris, Museee d’ Orsay used to be located at the Gare d’ Orsay railway station. Currently, the museum opens from 9:30 am to 6 pm Tuesdays to Sundays. The museum has also branched out into two major art galleries namely, Musee de l’Orangerie and Musee Herbert. It also has an auditorium, a few restaurants, and a souvenir shop in its premises.

Photo caption: Musee d’ Orsay interior


Musee d’ Orsay was built in line with the Universal Exhibition of 1900. It used to be housed at the former Orsay Railway Station which lies opposite to the Tuileries Gardens on the banks of the Seine, right at the heart of Paris. The site at the railway station was chosen because it is believed to be the most accessible spot for people traveling to see the exhibition.

The construction of the new museum, however, was only initiated in 1977 by President Valery Giscard d’Estaing. The building became a historical monument the year after. The inauguration of the modern day Musee d’ Orsay happened on December 1, 1986. It officially opened to the public on December 9 of the same year.

Major Exhibitions

The artworks on display at the museum are an assortment of paintings, sculpture, and photography. One of the major exhibition rooms inside Musee d’ Orsay is the Equivoques Room or the Ambiguities Room, where paintings of different art techniques and styles were mixed together.

Then there was the original Avant-garde paintings acquired from the Musee du Luxembourg. These artworks represent the eras of Realism to Impressionism. There were also some pieces obtained from the Musee du Jeu de Paume, which represent the works of modern and contemporary artists.

As for the collections of individual artists, the painters with the most number of artworks displayed at the museum are Odilon Redon with 106 paintings including ‘Caliban’; Eugene Carriere with 86 paintings including ‘Intimacy’, ‘The Sick Child’, and ‘The Painting Family’; and Claude Monet, also with 86 paintings including ‘The Saint-Lazare Station’, ‘Rue Montorgueil in Paris’ and ‘Celebration of June 30’.

Photo caption: ‘Rue Montorgueil in Paris’(1878) by Claude Monet

Main Artists

Aside from the artist listed above who has art galleries dedicated to their work, there are many other famous artists who are well celebrated at Musee d’ Orsay. The works of Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Gustave Courbet, Édouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cezanne, and Johan Axe Gustave Acke are also featured, among many other famous artists.

Photo caption: Bal du Moulin de la Galette’ (1876) by Pierre Auguste Renoir

Main Artworks

A few of the famous artworks displayed at Musee d’ Orsay are as follows: ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone’ (1888) – Van Gogh, ‘Bal du Moulin de la Galette’ (1876) – Renoir, ‘The Luncheon on the Grass’ (1862) – Manet, ‘The Artist’s Studio’ (1855) – Courbet, and ‘The Card Players’ (1894) – Cezanne.

Photo caption: ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone’ (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh


1 http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/history-of-the-museum/from-station-to-museum.html

2 http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/painting.html