The Laughing Zebra

Musée d’Orsay

If you go to Paris you Need to Visit this Museum

(And no, it isn’t the Louvre)

I’m just now having some time to write some posts from our trip to Europe last spring. So many pictures to wade through! And it was such a whirlwind of places, art, food and constant walking that it is hard to know where to start.

Thinking about Impressionism and how much I love so many of the artists in this movement so I am going to start with our visit to the  Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It was definitely a highlight and one I had looked forward to for a long time. It did not disappoint. We went on one of the evenings when they are open late and just had a relaxed time enjoying all the art and imagining so many great stories of how it all came to be.

All the paintings that I had seen in countless books and prints were so much more breathtaking in person. I loved getting a close up look of Van Gogh’s brushstrokes and could just feel the energy and movement and angst that was so much a part of who he was as an artist. Going from one artist’s grouping to another (many of them were in the same room), I could finally get a real sense of this time in history and how these artists all played off one another.

Some of my favorites were the Degas pastels, Renoir’s dancing couples, Cezzane’s still lifes, Romare Bearden’s cut paper art (you could see the creased and faded paper and imagine his fingers cutting and pasting). Mary Cassatt’s luminous portraits were glowing with the play of color and light that so define her work. And of course Monet! (went to Giverny on this trip too…another post on that)! Hard to put into words the magic in this place and feeling an almost hushed awe of such incredible talent. The museum  is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900, and is such a beautiful building, a perfect setting for all this amazing art. And being located on the left bank of the Seine the location just adds to the feeling of stepping back in time.

If you love art and especially Impressionism and Post Impressionism (this museum holds the largest collection in the world) then you need to see this in person. 

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