Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Impression of Impressionism: Musee d'Orsay Masterpieces at the De Young in San Francisco

A few weeks ago my husband and I had a grand day up in the city to celebrate our anniversary.  Sans kids and "to-do" lists, we celebrated the day walking the city, getting our fill of the sites including Union Square, cable cars, cafes, and the Golden Gate Park. 

We scheduled a fantastic tour of the visiting collection from the Musee d'Orsay including Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne.  Room after room was filled with wonderful paintings we had only seen in photographs.  To see them first hand up-close was fantastic. 

Armed with an audio headset, we set off on our tour to hear the story about each painting. 

The crowds were crazy.  Being from Washington, D.C., where the museums are free and plentiful, we were not used to such a short exhibit with a price tag of $26 that was completed in under an hour's time.  However we still thoroughly enjoyed seeing such an array amazing paintings which we missed on our last vacation to Paris.

I've heard that of all the museums in Paris, the Musee d'Orsay is the 'Must See' museum, some say even more so than the Louvre.  There are definitely more famous paintings that I recognized from this exhibit but the Louvre is incomparable.  I say, go to both!

As we zig-zagged our way through the maze of rooms for this exhibit, you are amazed at how close you can get to these paintings.  One guard for every 50 people in the room.  Envision: "The Thomas Crown Affair" with Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo.  Or the version with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. 

But after that flash thought, you're back to the real world and the large body mass in front of you blocking your view of the painting.

Oh well.  My day was complete because it was spent with my sweetie and we still had a few hours left before we had to return home.

This post was inspired by the book, The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova.  I am a member of the book club: From Left to Write where we received this book but I was not compensated in any form. 


  1. I must agree this was a great exhibit. I'm glad I got to see it as well. I love being able to get so close to see the brush strokes. From an artist's point of view, it is amazing to see the size and the date it was painted as well. The painting you posted at the top was a favorite of mine too. The fabric just shimmers!

  2. What a lovely way to spend the day! An exhibit with Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin -- I would be in 7th heaven!


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