In a large museum, changes are orchestrated by the movement of artworks. With new displays, recent acquisitions, returning loans, restorations, new combinations and deposits, small adjustments or major transformations, the presentation of the collections is continually evolving. On this page you will find regularly updated information on the principal changes in the Musée d'Orsay galleries, and on new discoveries to be made.
When barely twenty years old, Toulouse-Lautrec dashed off, in just a few days, this parody of The Sacred Grove Beloved of the Arts and Muses by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898), a huge allegorical composition, which he saw at the 1884 Salon.
Probably helped by his close friends from the Académie Cormon, the young Lautrec effectively mimicked the style of the original but did his utmost to subvert its serious tone by introducing a number of obviously anachronistic elements: a clock is featured on a classical portico, a winged figure brandishes a giant tube of paint, while a cohort of male figures in modern Parisian dress joins the heavenly choir.
Finally, he depicts himself with his back turned to the viewer, facing a tree that he “deconsecrates” in the most shameless way by urinating on the ground, while a police officer tries to keep the intruders on the right path.
Over and above the provocative prank, Toulouse-Lautrec is thumbing his nose at outdated Symbolism and Academism, and is unreservedly affirming his preference for modernity.
Usually on display exhibited at the Princeton University Art Museum, this work is currently presented in the Musée d'Orsay, at the end of the Symbolist Gallery, ground floor.
Monday June 11, 2018 The Artist's Studio et A Burial at Ornans, two of the largest paintings in the Musée d'Orsay collections have been moved to their new settings in room 7. They are now facing Couture's Romans during the Decadence, recently restored and hung in the nave.
This move marks the beginning of a genereral reorganization of the way the collections are displayed in the museum galleries that will take place over the coming few months.
It was the world’s leading contemporary art museum, with prestige and influence to match, and many artists - French only until 1861, when the intake was gradually broadened to include foreigners - dreamed of seeing their work exhibited there. Indeed, acceptance by the Luxembourg allowed them to hope that they might even find a posthumous place in the artists’ true pantheon - the Louvre.