The Musée d’Orsay is one of the most beautiful museums in Paris. Works of art from 1848 and 1914 are housed in a historic train station, originally built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, but extensively remodeled in the 1980’s. The building itself is considered the first “work of art” when entering the Musée d’Orsay.
It is located on the Seine’s Left Bank in the 7th arrondissement across from the Tulleries Gardens at Pont Royal. Its collection includes work by Pissarro, Gauguin, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Whistler, and Van Gogh.
Today, Arnaud happens to meet his cousin Emilie near the entrance to the Musée d’Orsay, which is not far from the RER station.
Arnaud: Hi, Emilie! I did not know you would be here today. It’s great to see you! Are you here for the Picasso/Manet exhibition on Déjeuner sur l’herbe? I think it ends soon.
Emilie: No, I had to write a paper on Degas’ sculptures for an art class I am taking. He was such an amazing sculptor, don’t you think? And what about you? What are you doing here?
Arnaud: Just a casual visit. I came to admire the paintings by Van Gogh, among others…yes, I like Degas too, of course. I come here often. Incidentally, I bought a reproduction of the Church at Auvers, which he painted in 1890. Tomorrow, I plan to go and see the places Van Gogh used to visit at the end of his life. Would you like to come with me? To Auvers-sur-Oise?
Emilie: Really? Um…sure. OK. Tomorrow I will go with you to Auvers. I adore Van Gogh, but he was a tortured artist at the end of his life, no? His paintings were not appreciated until well after his death.
Arnaud: Van Gogh lived with his brother Theo during those last months, before the great artist committed suicide. Such a tragedy. Both he and Theo are both buried in the cemetery at Auvers.
Emilie: If you don’t mind, I would like to visit the cemetery to see their tombstones. Can we do that?
Arnaud: Yes, of course. Their tombstones are covered in ivy, and from the cemetery there is a magnificent view of the church, Notre Dame d’Auvers, which dates back to the 12th century. After the cemetery we can walk into the field where Van Gogh painted many landscapes.