It was also a period of moral and aesthetic crisis, torn between the old cultural frameworks and the new practices, between increasingly excessive decoration and the quest for the real - conflicting currents that determined much of French artistic creation in the 1850s and 1860s.
To celebrate its 30th anniversary in autumn 2016, the Musée d’Orsay is looking at the entertainments and festivities of the Second Empire and at the different "stages" on which our modernity was invented. The exhibition’s thematic lay-out, with paintings, sculptures, photographs, architectural drawings, objets d’art and jewellery side by side, creates a portrait of this prolific and brilliant era, so rich in contradictions.
General CuratorGuy Cogeval, Director, Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie
CuratorsYves Badetz, general curator, Musée d'Orsay and director of the Musée Ernest Hébert
Paul Perrin, curator, Musée d'Orsay
Marie-Paule Vial, Honorary Chief Heritage Curator