Musée d'Orsay: Restoration of Schreyer's Charge of Artillery of Imperial Guard

Restoration of Schreyer's Charge of Artillery of Imperial Guard

To celebrate its thirtieth anniversary, the Musée d’Orsay has begun the restoration of a number of the works in its collections that were not put on display in the museum galleries when it opened in 1986. These restorations are part of its policy on the preventive conservation of the artworks, one of the museum’s fundamental missions.
This is the case of several large and medium sized Academic paintings in particular, which will be on view to the public once again while they undergo restoration or when they are hung in the renovated galleries in 2018.

Restoration of the Charge of Artillery of Imperial Guard in Traktir, Crimea, 16 August 1855 (1865) by Adolf Schreyer

The work presents one of the famous episodes of this battle which set the Russians under Prince Mikhaïl Gortchakov, in an attempt to break the siege of Sebastopol, against the Franco-Sardinians commanded by General Pélissier.
Despite the unquestionable bravery of the protagonists, many mocked the approximations of the command, particularly on the Russian side, which led to three times as many losses within the army of the Tsar and, finally, its defeat.

Adolf Schreyer specialized in the painting of horses – often under the guise of Orientalism – but also in battle scenes. The painting "is reminiscent of the terrible and naïve tales of the Erckmann-Chatrian stories. Mr. Schreyer has the fervour of his artillerymen. [...] the dust and the smoke, the light and the clouds in the sky, all in combat" as W. Bürger wrote.

The painting purchased by the State in 1865 was housed at the Agen municipal museum between 1885 and 1980 before being moved to the Musée d'Orsay.
The canvas, in poor condition and stored rolled, has never been displayed. This vast composition is being restored right in front of the eyes of visitors for the Musée d'Orsay's 30th anniversary.

Schreyer's "Charge of Artillery of Imperial Guard" before restoration© Musée d'Orsay / Sophie Boegly

This initiative is supported by a restoration fund sponsored by Crédit Agricole Ile de France, Great Patron of the Musée d'Orsay.

Glass enclosure built with the generous support of: