Musée d'Orsay: Victor Laloux (1850-1937) : Architect of the Gare d'Orsay

Victor Laloux (1850-1937) : Architect of the Gare d'Orsay


architecture drawing
Victor LalouxGare d'Orsay, transversal view. Façade, rue de Bellechasse© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / DR
Victor Laloux, who was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1878 is remembered as the exalter of academism attending all the official juries and the presidency of great architects' and artists' societies. An eclectic architect, Victor Laloux was also a grear "Maître" in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts workshop. In particular, he designed the city halls in Tours and Roubaix and the train station in Tours.

He was entrusted with the surface works of the hotel and Orsay station in Paris in 1898.

Nothing was spared to bring to it modernity and comfort. The fastuous decor imagined by Laloux and his team mingled in an opulent eclecticism all the styles of French classicism, from Louis XIV to Louis XV: it was a profusion of stone, staff and ornamental cast iron.

The Orsay station, the masterpiece of modernism and industry in 1900 greatly influenced the architecture of American stations. Yet it was soon obsolete: the tracks were too short, it was not flexible… The building allowed for varied uses: it welcomed the prisoners of war in 1945, it hosted a press conference by General de Gaulle on his return to power in 1958, the shooting of The Trial by Orson Welles in 1962, it was also used as an auction hall, a theatre and, finally, a museum…

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his death, the Musée d'Orsay paid homage to the architect who designed the building that houses it today.

with the help of the S.E.G.M. (Pernod-Ricard group)


Marie-Laure Crosnier-Lecomte, head of research, Musée d'Orsay

25 May - 30 August 1987
Musée d'Orsay

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