Friday, May 01, 2009

Paris again, Musee d'Orsay day

Let me confess something right at the top here, I am not a good museum goer. I was, then I got a job that required me to go, tour the museum and then shop the gift shop for art to knock off. A job so bad I won't link to it, or post what their number one seller was, but if you must know, they sold a ton of this. It got so I would only go to gift shops and skip the whole enjoyable museum part. That was almost ten years ago. This trip to Paris I swore I would try again.
The Musée d'Orsay is in a former train station. It's impressive. Completed in 1900, it became unusable for the new longer trains in 1939 due to its shorter platforms. It continued to be used for local trains until 1973 and then sat empty until the decision to turn it into a museum in 1977. It opened to the public as a museum in 1986. I had been here about 19 years before and was just plain overwhelmed. It is billed as the "modern" museum. However I was stuck to discover that the museum has a strict policy of exhibiting only work that was produced from 1848 to 1915. Even if you are Matisse or Monet, your work won't be here if you made it after 1915.

There's the clock that would have told you to run for your train. See how late it is already. Ten to one!

Charles Emile de Tournemine, Café à Adalia (Turquie d'Asie), 1856

I had no idea you could come in and paint next to the art. I'm guessing you need permission. And you probably have to promise to a) be tidy, b) not paint on the existing art, and/or c) not switch your out for the real one and walk away with it.

By now you've noticed I took a lot of photos inside the museum. I didn't know that was acceptable either. I had my camera put away, then saw a few people taking photos. I pulled my camera out and took a few really quickly and put my camera away. Then I noticed that the guards right next to the art could care less about people with very large cameras sizing up their shot and taking photos. The only guideline i could find was "no flash".

Okay, camera ready? IT'S ON!

Frédéric Bazille, Edouard Manet L'atelier de Bazille,1870

Thomas Couture, The Romans of the Decadence, 1847

Ah yes, the orgy painting. I like it because those two on the far right look like they are about to dish some serious trash talking about someone else's outfit.

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Reception du Grade Conde par Louis XIV, 1878

I'm pretty certain this is how Lyle thinks I should greet him when he comes home from work. And I am equally certain that's not going to happen.

Ernest Meissonier, The Campagign in France 1814, 1864

For some reason I was in a winter mood.
Alfred Sisley, Snow in Louveciennes, 1878

Claude Monet, Effet de neige à Vétheuil, 1879

Paul Gauguin, La Seine au pont d'Iéna. Temps de neige, 1875

Gustave Caillebotte, Vue de toits (Effet de neige), 1878

Before leaving, I purchased a book on the Musee d'Orsay. I learned some fascinating things that apparently I had missed in school. The artists in France made their living off their patrons, generally the king. When the king was gone, the state stepped in and became the supporter and arbitrator of what was art. There were annual exhibitions and if your painting(s) was no accepted they put a big R on the back, for REFUSED. And then who would buy your painting if everyone else agreed it wasn't good enough to even be seen in the annual approved show?

Even if you were accepted, if you weren't in tight (or paid someone off) your painting would most likely be hung high towards the ceiling or in an out of the way room guaranteeing you no customers or contacts.

When a new school of painting and arts came along they were "refused" repeatedly and finally gave up and had their own showing of the Show of the Refused. Thought tough going at first, this is where Manet, Pissarro, Cezanne and more, finally got their break.

I also looked at the summer paintings.
Claude Monet, Le pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil, 1874

Claude Monet, Carrières-Saint-Denis, 1872

Claude Monet, Argenteuil Basin, 1872

Alfred Sisley, Vue du canal Saint-Martin, 1870

And also from my handy book I learned of the birth of Impressionism. The story goes that while writing and editing the catalog Renoir's brother got fed up with the titles to Monet's paintings, Entrance to the Village, Way out of the Village, Morning in the Village... And he asked Monet to change some of the titles. Monet took a look at the painting of a view of the harbor and responded, "Why don't you just call it 'Impression'?" And that name stuck.

Edouard Manet, Portrait d'Irma Brunner, 1880

Lyle was offended that she had her feet up on that nice couch.
Edouard Manet, Portrait de Madame Manet sur un canapé bleu, 1874

I took this one for my friend Teryl, who played the bassoon in high school.
Edgar Degas, Orchestra of the Opéra, 1869

I took this one for Richard who has most likely done some floors in his past.
Gustave Caillebotte, Planing the Floor, 1875

Christine and I love dogs.
Eugéne Carriere, Louis-Henri Devillez dans son atelier, 1887

I took this one for Carolyn who told me she loves this painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. And oh yeah, I saw the big painting there in February.
George Seurat, Etude pour "Un dimanche après-midi à l'île de la Grande Jatte", 1886

So now I've learned that you area painter in France and you are broke and hungry. And you sit in your studio and you think, "I MUST GET IN THAT SHOW. I MUST SELL A PAINTING!" And then you wonder, what do people really like... and it comes to you...TURKEYS! Turkeys? Seriously? You thought someone would want an 8' square painting of turkeys?
Claude Monet, Les dindons, 1877

We left the museum and took a walk outside. It was an amazingly bright and cheerful day. Spring had arrived and the city was out to greet it. We crossed over the river and walked for a bit through the Tuilleries. And I say this guy:
Which made me wonder, "Gay or Eurotrash?"

I was most curious because I had on the same outfit.
And I know I'm not Eurotrash!


Landis said...

certainment, NON! vous etes GAY!

Teryl said...

Merci Monsieur!

Rachel said...

J'adore Caillebotte!