Musée d’Orsay to Expand Spaces for Exhibitions and Education

In 2016, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris received the largest foreign collection of art to be donated to France since World War II from two American art collectors, Marlene and Spencer Hays.

Now the museum is making more room for all of that, as well as the rest of its collection and educational operations.

On March 5, the museum announced “Orsay Grand Ouvert” (Orsay Wide Open), a project jump-started by a gift of $22.3 million from an anonymous American donor.

“This goes beyond the question of the display of the collection. We also want to fulfill our mission in a more modern and complete way,” said Laurence des Cars, president of the museum and its sister institution, the Musée de l’Orangerie, which houses Monet’s Water Lilies. “Visitors are no longer just expecting a museum to display works of art, but to offer a complete experience.”

Once completed, with a target date of 2026, the museum’s entire building, a 19th-century train station, will be deployed for public use, with 13,000 square feet of administrative offices converted into new galleries and new centers for education and international research.

The Hayses’ art donation included more than 600 masterworks from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including pieces by Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Amedeo Modigliani and Henri Matisse.

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