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News Entry# 287952
  
Dec 08 2016 (11:07)  “It will probably be difficult to welcome any more visitors.” (www.thehindu.com)
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News Entry# 287952     
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Posted by: rdb*^  130913 news posts
Now, that could be a problem if you are among the top visited galleries in the world. Learn about Musee d’Orsay, a museum housed in an old railway station...
It is one of the greatest and most visited art museums in the world, and the only one in an old railway station. Thirty years after the Musee d’Orsay opened its doors for the first time, it has become as much a Paris landmark as its big sister the Louvre just across the River Seine.
But the very success of the museum best known
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for its unrivalled collection of Impressionist paintings is now causing it problems.
An average of 3.5 million visitors a year pour through its spectacular vaulted nave, making it the “most dense museum in the world”, according to its director of collections Xavier Rey.
There is simply not enough space, he said. Although the Musee d’Orsay is one of the top 10 most visited galleries in the world, it is several times smaller than its rivals.
“It will probably be difficult to welcome any more visitors,” said Guy Cogeval, who heads the museum and its smaller offshoot the Orangerie, which houses Claude Monet’s water lily murals.
Cogeval, who is stepping down in March, said the “one of the greatest challenges my successor faces is how to deal with this”.
But the real problem isn’t so much the public as finding a place to show its staggering collection of late 19th-century and early-20th century masterpieces.
Only around 4,400 pieces can be shown at any one time.
That leaves some 1,64,000 paintings and sculptures in its stores, which is set to grow even further with the massive donation by a Texan couple of their 350-million euro art collection to the French capital.
Their gift is the biggest from a foreign benefactor to France since World War II.
Faced with such pressure, the museum has bought a neighbouring 18th-century mansion on the banks of the Seine to house its library and research centre on the post-Impressionists.
Architectural gem
The idea of a fine art museum in a railway station was revolutionary when the museum opened in December 1986. Not that the Art Deco terminus was your average transport hub. Built like the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, it had the same architectural exuberance. Having survived demolition plans in the 1970s, it was converted into a museum for mostly French art dating from the revolutions of 1848 to the outbreak of World War I as one of the late French president Francois Mitterrand’s “grands projets” to renew the French capital. A runaway success from the start, with its architectural elegance and head-turning collection equally praised, Rey said that “one can no longer imagine the museum anywhere but in this station”.TEXT AND PHOTO: AFP
Having survived demolition plans in the 1970s, the station was converted into a museum for mostly French art dating from the revolutions of 1848 to the outbreak of World War I. The museum has bought a neighbouring 18th-century mansion on the banks of the Seine to house its library and research centre.
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