The concept involves inviting a contemporary artist to choose an artwork from the Museum collections and present one of his or her own pieces alongside. The resulting dialogue enables works in the collections to be perceived in a new light, and brings a fresh resonance to their lasting modernity.
Paul Cézanne, Le pont de Maincy (The Bridge at Maincy), circa 1879
Jeff Wall, Rear view, open air theatre
The Canadian artist Jeff Wall has played a key role in establishing photography as a contemporary art form, with his work in the series Transparencies, colour photographs mounted in light boxes. They defy appearances, sitting between candid shots capturing the moment, and subtle and meticulous reconstruction.
This is what his work is all about: the skilful and thoughtful use of all the methods photography offers, focusing on a close dialogue with pictorial composition. Wall often evokes the popular nineteenth century expression "a painter of modern life", and he admits a real affinity with Manet, Degas and Cézanne. Their pictorial language provides a system of references, a context for his own photographic work. So his choice is Cézanne's Bridge at Maincy.
Claude Monet, Les Cathédrales de Rouen (The Rouen Cathedrals), 1893
François Morellet, Trois Démonétisations (Three demonetisations)
For François Morellet, the work of art refers only to itself – the title is a guide to its creation, often drawing on the artist's sharp wit and word play.
In the sixties, Morellet began to work with neon tubes. His rigorous approach tended to create emotionally neutral works and has placed him close to Minimal Art and Conceptual Art: the relationship between the work and its environment makes its infinite extension possible. So François Morellet turned to Claude Monet and his Rouen Cathedral series (1892-1893) "My choice is clear: it is the series of Monet's cathedrals: magnificent, systematic, obstinate and provocative."
Serge Lemoine, President of the Musée d'Orsay, in conjunction with Olivier Gabet, curator, Musée d'Orsay
Musée d'Orsay / Réunion des musées nationaux
Correspondences 11. Claude Monet / François Morellet
Argol / Musée d'Orsay
Correspondences 12. Paul Cézanne / Jeff Wall
Argol / Musée d'Orsay