Musée de l'Orangerie

The Musée de l'Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Though most famous for being the permanent home for eight Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet, the museum also contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Chaim Soutine, and Maurice Utrillo, among others.

Location

The gallery is on the bank of the Seine in the old orangery of the Tuileries Palace on the Place de la Concorde near the Concorde metro station.

History

According to the museum's website, the Orangerie was originally built in 1852 by the architect Firmin Bourgeois and completed by his successor, Ludovico Visconti, to shelter the orange trees of the garden of the Tuileries. Used by the Third Republic in the nineteenth century as deposit for goods, an examination room, and place of lodging for mobilized soldiers, it also served to house sporting, musical, and patriotic events. Additionally, it was a place to display exhibitions of industry, animals, plants, as well as rare displays of painting.

As art historian Michel Hoog states, “In 1921, the administration of the Beaux-Arts decided to assign to the Direction des Musées Nationaux (as it was then called) the two buildings overlooking the Place de la Concorde, the Jeu de Paume, and the Orangerie, which until then had been used for their original purpose. The Orangerie became an annex of the Musée du Luxembourg, unanimously criticized for being too small, while the Jeu de Paume was to be used for temporary exhibitions and to house contemporary foreign painting.” Claude Monet had requested to donate decorative panels to the French government as a monument to the end of World War I, and former politician (and close friend of Monet) Georges Clémenceau suggested that Monet install the paintings at the newly available Orangerie (rather than at the Jeu de Paume, which had smaller wall space, or, as was formerly planned, as an annex to the Musée Rodin).

On April 12, 1922 Claude Monet signed a contract donating the Nymphéas series of decorative panels painted on canvas to the French government, to be housed in redesigned, oval rooms at the Orangerie. With input from Monet, the head architect at the Louvre, Camille Lefèvre, drafted new plans and elevations in 1922 to house Monet's large Nymphéas canvases, incorporating natural light, plain walls, and sparse interior decoration. According to Hoog's research, "funds were made available on August 17, 1922, work began in October and seems to have been finished in [the] following year." Unwilling to relinquish his final works of art, these water lilies paintings stayed with Monet until his death on December 5, 1926. On January 31, 1927 the Laurent-Fournier company agreed to install and mount the panels (a process that involved gluing the canvas directly to the walls), and the paintings were in place by March 26 of that year. On May 17, 1927 Monet's Nymphéas at the Musée de l'Orangerie opened to the public.

According to Hoog, "In August 1944, during the battle for the Liberation of Paris, five shells fell on the rooms of the Nymphéas; two panels (those situated on the wall between the two rooms) were slightly damaged and immediately restored. In 1984, this restoration work was renewed and a general cleaning was effected."

In January 2000, the museum was closed for renovation work, completely reviewed and restructured, and re-opened to the public in May 2006.

Paul Guillaume's widow, Mrs. Jean Walter, donated their modern art collection to the Musées Nationaux in 1958. The Orangerie has housed the Paul Guillaume collection of 19th and 20th century modern paintings since 1965.

Monet's Water Lilies

A cycle of Monet's water-lily paintings, known as the Nymphéas, was arranged on the ground floor of the Orangerie in 1927. They are available under direct diffused light as was originally intended by Monet. The eight paintings are displayed in two oval rooms all along the walls. The museum was closed to the public from the end of August 1999 until May 2006. For several months before it was closed there was a special exhibit of Monet's Nymphéas that were gathered from museums throughout the world. More than 60 of the 250 paintings he made of the water lilies in his garden were included. The walls were repainted in shades of purples and violet for this special exhibit. The Orangerie was renovated in order to move the paintings to the upper floor of the gallery.

In popular culture

The Musée de l'Orangerie, specifically the Water Lilies paintings, were featured in Woody Allen's 2011 film Midnight in Paris.

External links

Listed in the following categories:
Post a comment
Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
Varun Shetty
18 June 2014
An amazing collection of art: Picasso, Cezanne, Rodin, Matisse, Degas. And two rooms with Monet's giant water lily canvasses. Pound for pound (frame for frame?), perhaps the best museum in the world.
Adam Sigel
28 May 2015
Don't sleep on this museum because it's not the Orsay or Louvre. Two huge rooms on the top floor devoted to mural-sized works by Monet of his water lilies. Very serene place to appreciate his work.
Lauren Landau
14 June 2015
It's my favourite museum in Paris. Small, intimate, and you are surrounded by Monet's fabulous water lily murals. Downstairs is a great, small collection of other famous artists.
Nola Dolan
4 August 2016
My favorite museum in Paris aside from Monet's incredible water lilies there is also a lovely collection of impressionist works downstairs, I'm especially fond of the Renoirs!
Emily Wilson
16 June 2018
The Monets are as stunning as everyone says. Make it a point to go here and come back as many times in life as is possible. It's an emotional whirlwind worth experiencing over and over again.
Eric Andersen
14 September 2018
The Water Lilies “Grandes Décorations” are the culmination of Monet’s lifetime work, painted 1914-1926. The two full oval rooms are both stunning and a relaxing feeling of “water without horizon”.
Load more comments
foursquare.com
9.1/10
Nadya Popova, Ricka and 49,332 more people have been here

Hotels nearby

See all hotels See all
Magnificent Studio Heart of Paris

starting $87

Melia Paris Notre-Dame

starting $678

Hotel Les Rives de Notre Dame

starting $606

Hotel Le Notre Dame

starting $299

Hotel Henri IV Rive Gauche

starting $249

Hotel Esmeralda

starting $99

Recommended sights nearby

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Luxor Obelisk

The Luxor Obelisk (French: Obélisque de Louxor) is a 23 metres (75

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Pont de la Concorde (Paris)

The Pont de la Concorde is an arch bridge across the River Seine in

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris,

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Jardin des Tuileries

杜樂麗花園(法语:-{Jardin des Tuileries}-)是法國巴黎

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Palais Bourbon

The Palais Bourbon, a palace located on the left bank of the Seine,

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Columna Vendôme

A Coluna de Vendôme é um monumento parisiense situado na Praça de Ve

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Petit Palais

The Petit Palais (Small Palace) is a museum in Paris, France. Built

Similar tourist attractions

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an art museum located on the eastern

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Wynwood Art Walk

Wynwood Art Walk is a tourist attraction, one of the Art museums and

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum, a program of the J. Paul Getty Trust, is an

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Palacio de Bellas Artes

Palacio de Bellas Artes (Spanish for Palace of Fine Arts) is the

See all similar places