A bridge between the Beaubourg and Louvre
1 rue de Bellechasse, 7e. The Italian architect Gae Aulenti made an inspired job of converting this cavernous turn-of-the-century glass and steel railway station into a tremendous modern museum space. Hanging galleries line the 32 m-high hall where Orson Wells filmed Kafka’s The Trial in 1962, and natural light provides a terrific bonus in the main Impressionist galleries.
Covering the period 1840-1914, the museum acts as a bridge between the collections of the Louvre and Centre Beaubourg. On the ground floor Neoclassical (lngres), Romantic (Delacroix) and Realist (Corot, Millet) paintings and sculpture together with Manet’s mouldshattering Déjeuner sur I’Herbe (1863), illustrate the road to Impressionism represented by the early works of Monet and Renoir. The full-blown glory of the Impressionist harvest – Monet’s studies of Rouen cathedral and the waterlilies at Giverny, Renoir’s exuberant Moulin de la Galette and hundreds more – occupy the upper level, alongside off-shoots of the main movement such as high-kicking Toulouse-Lautrec dance halls, Van Gogh, Rousseau and Gauguin, plus a lively cafe behind the station clock. The eclectic mid-section combines sculpture, terrific Art Nouveau furniture and objets d’art, plus the Symbolist painters.
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