Acquisition methods

Glossary of acquisition methods
© Musée d'Orsay / Sophie Crépy

The works in the Musée d'Orsay entered the collections in a variety of ways (purchases by the State, particularly at the Salons in the 19th century and the early 20th century, commissions, gifts and bequests). The collection is the fruit of the history of the museum institutions that preceded it: the Musée du Luxembourg, the Musée des Écoles Étrangères at the Jeu de Paume, the Louvre, and the Musée d’Art Moderne. Since the late 1970s, even before its doors opened in 1986, the Musée d'Orsay developed an acquisition policy. This is how the museum enriches the collections in different areas every year.
The establishment has an annual budget. Each visitor contributes to the purchase of works since the statutes of the Public Establishment of the Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie provide that 16% of the price of the ticket to the permanent collections be allocated to the acquisition of works. 

Purchase by mutual agreement

The museum acquires ownership of property from a seller, in return for payment, under predefined conditions. 

Maurice Denis
Le Christ vert, mai 1890
Musée d'Orsay
Achat, 2020
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
See the notice of the artwork
Charles Nègre
Le Petit Ramoneur, 1851
Musée d'Orsay
Achat, 2018
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Alexis Brandt
See the notice of the artwork

Purchase with a third party

The work is acquired thanks to the financial support of a third party, a legal entity or an individual who may, if he or she so wishes, benefit from the tax incentive mechanism provided for by the 2003 law in favor of sponsorship. 

 

Purchase at auction

The work is acquired at a public auction. The museum in this case acts as any other bidder.

Edouard Manet
Tête de jeune homme d’après l’autoportrait de Filippino Lippi, vers 1853-1859
Musée d'Orsay
Achat, 2020
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
See the notice of the artwork
Paul Gauguin
Le Chapeau rouge, 1886
Musée d'Orsay
Achat en vente publique, 2019
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
See the notice of the artwork

Pre-emptive purchase at auction

If the State decides to make a pre-emptive purchase of an item, this decision of pre-emption is announced verbally to everyone in the auction room as soon as the hammer falls. The authorized agent will then make the following statement: "Subject to the State exercising its pre-emptive right." The purchase, however, does not take effect immediately. The State has fifteen days to confirm its final position. During this time, the administrative bodies concerned can carry out further analyses or historical research. If the State does not confirm its wish for pre-emption, the highest bidder is then considered, by means of the resolutive condition, to have purchased the work.

Camille Claudel
Etude II pour Sakountala, vers 1886
Musée d'Orsay
Préemption en vente publique, 2017
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
See the notice of the artwork

The Society of Friends of the Orsay and Orangerie Museums

Founded in 1980 at the creation of the Musée d'Orsay, the Société des Amis des musées d'Orsay et de l'Orangerie (SAMO) is an association governed by the French law of 1901 and recognized as a public utility since 2007. It supports the Establishment's acquisitions and is entitled to receive donations and other gifts and is eligible for tax reductions.
The works are either generously donated by individuals or companies to the association, or acquired and financed with the association's own funds, which in turn donated them to the Établissement public des musées d'Orsay et de l'Orangerie - Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
 

 

The American Friends of the Musée d'Orsay (AFMO)

Founded in 2009, it is a nonprofit organization under U.S. law with a membership of benefactors. The American Friends of the Musée d'Orsay are dedicated to promoting the richness and knowledge of the arts of the late 19thcentury to the American public, financially support the Établissement public des musées d'Orsay et de l'Orangerie - Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and encourage donations and bequests of works of art.

Purchase from the arrears of a bequest or donation of a sum of money

This invested amount produces financial income each year that periodically allows for the purchase of works. This acquisition method remains exceptional. 
 

Acceptance in Lieu

The Acceptance in Lieu scheme, subject to agreement by both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Culture, exceptionally allows works of great artistic or historical value to be given in lieu of liabilities for inheritance tax, capital transfer tax or wealth tax. 

 

Law of December 31, 1968

How do institutions make use of the acceptance in lieu scheme?