Posted by: kdeversblog | September 20, 2017

Art Treasures in Paris

 

There are so many places to see fabulous art collections in Paris, but we only had a few days so we had to be selective. Rather than get swallowed up by the overwhelming quantity of art and people visiting the Louvre, we chose to visit the Orsay Museum and the Orangerie Museum.

First, we had to get fortified with a ham and cheese omelette and croissant at our usual neighborhood cafe. Then we headed to the subway and the Orsay Museum.

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Walking into this museum, I realized that it was going to be an amazing opportunity to view Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The main hall is huge with a large clock at one end.

There are multiple levels and as we made our way through the galleries, I felt like I was seeing old friends. The photographs I had seen in textbooks as a student and shared with my own students as an instructor, came to life. I could see the brush strokes and finally appreciate the actual sizes of the paintings.

 

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It was a thrill to see Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, as well as those of Degas, Cassatt, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Gaugin. Many others were there as well as one of my new favorites, Luce.

To be able to see Dega’s ballerina sculpture was thrilling. He was the first artist to add an actual article of clothing rather than create the illusion of fabric.

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Of course Mary Cassatt is one of my favorites.

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In the upper level there was another great clock that allowed us to see the city through the markings. It was also a place for people to relax. The cafe had unique lighting and looked inviting, but we had other plans.

It was time to say goodbye to the treasures in the Musee d’Orsay and head over to the Musee de l’Orangerie.

On the way , we saw Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss. This is one that I share with my students and it is an iconic piece, full of grace and passion.

I knew that we would be seeing Monet’s water lily paintings, but I was not prepared for the visually overpowering experience. We walked into the room and it was very quiet. The entire room was devoted to the semi-circular mural-size paintings.

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I started to walk into the room and then stopped. Tears filled my eyes and I started to cry. I’ve never had any art experience to rival this. I wasn’t embarrassed, it didn’t matter to me that there were other people there. I could have been alone in the room except that John hugged me and offered his support. Even recalling the experience brings tears to my eyes as I write this.

I know these photos will not show the astonishing beauty of the paintings, but they are a reminder of the experience. There was another room with the Willow Tree paintings, but I prefer the Water Lily images.

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It meant a lot to me to experience these paintings, it was like entering Monet’s world. I loved looking closely at the brush strokes and imagining how he quickly and intuitively applied the paint to the canvases.

There was a small collection of art in the lower level of the museum, this is a small sampling.

This was truly a wonderful experience and one I will never forget. France has offered us her treasures and she has preserved and presented them beautifully.


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