In colour exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, 12th June – 9th September 2018

Le Musée d’Orsay, near our hotels has a new temporary exhibition about polychrome sculpture in France from 1850 to 1910, with some superb and unusual Art Nouveau pieces.

© musée d’Orsay/Patrice Schmidt

The subject may seem very odd, but at the end of the 19th century, after centuries of sculptures being only in white marble or bronze, some bold sculptors started mixing materials to produce a new effect.

For exemple, the sculpture of Helen on the poster for the exhibition is made of white Carrara marble, ancient green marble, yellow marble from Sienne, alabaster, malachite, enamelled metal and stone!

Other artist used painted waxes and marbles, golden or silvered bronzes, cameo glass and glazed sandstones, experimentation stimulated by the influence of Art Nouveau and symbolism.

This sent a small shockwave through the arts world, and sculpture in colour went on to be the preferred medium for many artists.

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The exhibition presents around fifty pieces from the museum’s collection, and the official website has no less than eleven pages of detailled information (in English!) about the context, techniques and reactions of the era (and they weren’t always positive).

Related to the exhibition, there are visit-conferences (some available in sign language), and the official catalogue has just been published (224 pages, 144 illustrations, 45€ here at

The exhibition In Colour: Polychrome Sculpture in France 1850-1910 is at the Musée d’Orsay (here) from 12th June – 9th September 2018

Open every day except Mondays from 9.30am-6pm (9.45pm Thursdays)

Admission: 12€ / 9€

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