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“Pic of the Week”, May 18, 2018: The Orangerie Museum, Paris

02 Paris Orangerie

Situated adjacent to the Seine in the Jardin des Tuileries, not far from the Louvre, you’ll find a wonderful museum.  It’s next to the Place de la Concord and is housed in the palace’s old orange-tree growing greenhouse (orangery), a building completed in 1852. The building is lovely, with some statues outside including one by Rodin, but it’s what’s inside that’s truly special.

The Orangerie museum is a 20th century art gallery and its best know pieces are a series of Monet water-lily paintings known as the Nymphéas which occupy much of the upper floor.  Eight huge canvases of lilies are hung in two galleries, all painted by Monet when he was an old man beginning to lose his eyesight to cataracts.  Monet painted these canvases at his home in Giverny and donated them to the French people.  Monet knew exactly where these paintings would be situated and demanded their placement be as you see them today, in two spacious ovoid rooms under direct diffused light.  The display opened in 1927, after Monet’s death, and you can still enjoy the exhibit as Monet intended you to.

The following image, courtesy Wikimedia, gives you a sense of how the paintings are presented and the wonderful light in one of the two rooms.

(Interior panorama of Musée de l’Orangerie, courtesy Jason7825)

Photography within the museum is not allowed, but somehow I forgot to turn off the automatic timer on the camera draped around my neck and it snapped the following images of the Monet galleries.  Even though many aren’t great, rather than delete them I thought I would share these with you.  Like all photography of impressionist art, the images do not do justice to the genius that created these canvases.

The museum also houses an extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works in its basement, including the extensive donated collection of Paul Guillaume.  Some other artists whose work is featured are Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, among others.

Well worth a few hours of your time when visiting the City of Lights!

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


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