The Revival of the Impressionists at the Musée d'Orsay


© Photo Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington - © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Service presse / musée d’Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay celebrates the 150th anniversary of Impressionism with the grand exhibition "Paris 1874. Pioneering Impressionism" and, for the first time in the former train station, an immersive experience "An Evening with the Impressionists, Paris 1874". These two programs literally transport us back to the era of the Impressionists with more masterpieces than one can count. Already a success!


And Impressionism was born…

April 15, 1874, marked a turning point in art history. That evening, photographer Nadar hosted the "rejected" artists from the Salon of the Academy of Fine Arts in his former studio. Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Cézanne broke free from the classical rules of their time to become Impressionists: they painted splendid landscapes outdoors like Pissarro in Pontoise, depicted modern life such as Monet's depiction of the Saint-Lazare station, and especially the high life like Degas and his horse races. These works, along with the other 160 presented at the exhibition, all reflect these artists' desire for independence.

The Musée d'Orsay chooses to examine this movement, which continues to impress (pun intended) today: how is it different? Why have these painters become legendary? The exhibition answers these questions by juxtaposing these independents with "academic" artists, notably through a spectacular scenography reminiscent of the hanging at the famous Salon, and the succession of masterpieces that dazzle visitors. The most iconic? Monet's "Impression, Sunrise," which some even say is the founding painting of the movement.


The Impressionists in the era of virtual reality

This is THE major innovation at the Musée d'Orsay: an immersive experience takes us back to 1874. For 45 minutes, visitors live through the key moments of the genesis of Impressionism. Guided by Rose, a model and aspiring writer, they wander the grand boulevards facing the Palais Garnier of the late 19th century before heading to Nadar's studio.

Inside, the paintings are hung exactly as they were 150 years ago! There's a great emotional moment when the painters themselves describe their masterpieces throughout the story. The illusion is such that one might believe they are truly in front of us (we would love that anyway!)… Without revealing too much to spoil the sense of wonder, the journey takes us from Paris, to the Salon of Paintings and Sculptures, to the banks of the Seine, all the way to Normandy. A true Impressionist odyssey that is well worth the visit!

Paris 1874. Pioneering Impressionism until August 11. Starting from €17.50. Online reservations strongly recommended.  

An Evening with the Impressionists, Paris 1874 until August 11. Starting from €35. Online reservations strongly recommended.

© Excurio – GEDEON Experiences – musée d’Orsay - © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Service Presse / musée d’Orsay

Also discover Martine, the icon of our childhood at the Gallimard gallery, and the fantastic world of Paolo Roversi at the Palais Galliera.

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