Musée d'Orsay: The Orsay Zoo

The Orsay Zoo


Pierre BonnardThe White Cat© ADAGP, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
In the 19th century and the early 20th century animal art developed considerably, with the growth of menageries and public zoos reflecting the colonial conquests and explorations of the time.

The style is above all naturalistic. The artists, trained in anatomical studies, presented a detailed study of the animals. With the 20th century came a tendency towards stylisation. Pompon's animals have neither fur nor feathers, just a smooth surface. They become clear forms, an interplay of shapes and volumes. This opened the way for Brancusi's extreme simplifications. At the same time, animal art – at first scorned and marginalised – gained some recognition. In 1908, the first exhibition on this theme was set up, and in 1913, the Society for French Animal Artists was founded.

The ninety-six works of art lent by the Musée d'Orsay for this exhibition join the collections from the Musée de Roubaix to present man's changing relationship with animals over the hundred years from 1830 to 1930.


Emmanuelle Héran, curator, Musée d'Orsay , Bruno Gaudichon, senior heritage curator, director of La Piscine-Musée d'Art et d'Industrie André-Diligent, Roubaix.

Exhibition organised by the Musée d'Orsay and the Piscine-Musée d'Art et d'Industrie André-Diligent, Roubaix, with the support of the BSD-CIN Group.

1 March to 25 May at the Piscine-Musée d'Art et d'Industrie André-Diligent, Roubaix

1 March - 25 May 2008

Roubaix, La Piscine-Musée d'Art et d'Industrie André-Diligent

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