Musée d'Orsay

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Paris. The French national museum of fine and applied arts from 1848 to 1914, opened in 1986. It is housed in a large building that was originally a railway station, the Gare d'Orsay (1897–1900). The main train service to it closed in 1939 and the building was subsequently put to various uses (for example as a theatre) before it was decided to transform it into a museum. Structural work began in 1979, and in 1980 the Italian architect Gae Aulenti began the conversion of the interior; her design has proved controversial, as some critics feel that it clashes with and obscures the handsome original fabric of the building and provides an unsympathetic setting for many of the works on show. The collections cover the era between the territories of the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre. Not surprisingly, the museum is particularly strong in French art, and at its heart is the superb collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings formerly housed in the Jeu de Paume. The Muśee d'Orsay also houses pictures transferred from the Louvre and decorative art from other state collections.

Subjects: Art.

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