Musée d'Orsay: History of the collections

History of the collections

A national, multidisciplinary museum

The national museum of the Musée d'Orsay opened to the public on 9 December 1986 to show the great diversity of artistic creation in the western world between 1848 and 1914. It was formed with the national collections coming mainly from three establishments:

  • from the Louvre museum, for the works of artists born after 1820 or coming to the fore during the Second Republic;
  • from the Musée du Jeu de Paume, which since 1947 had been devoted to Impressionism;
  • and lastly from the National Museum of Modern Art, which, when it moved in 1976 to the Centre Georges Pompidou, only kept works of artists born after 1870. 

But each artistic discipline represented in the Musée d'Orsay collections has its own history, which you can discover using this menu.