The Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which welcomes 3.6 million visitors annually, is planning to expand. The institution, which is housed in a former train station, will convert 13,000-square-feet of administrative space into new galleries for its holdings of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art and will create new centers for education and research.
Dubbed “Orsay Wide Open,” the project will allow the institution to exhibit more of its growing collection. In recent years, the museum acquired nearly three-hundred French artworks by Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Édouard Vuillard, among other artists, from American arts patrons and longtime supporters Marlene Hays and the late Spencer Hays.
The expansion is being funded in part by a lead gift of $22.3 million that was made by an anonymous donor through the charitable group the American Friends of Musée d’Orsay. Slated to take six years to complete, the project will turn the fourth floor of the museum into a new 7,000-square-feet center for education which will be modeled after other American and European museums’ community spaces dedicated to children, school groups, and families. Its new International Research and Resource Center will integrate the museum’s existing archives and library.
“‘Orsay Wide Open’ will allow us to achieve a core objective of the museum: to offer visitors a comfortable experience in spacious galleries and with educational resources that enrich their understanding of our collection and the history of art and culture,” said Laurence des Cars, president of the museum and its sister institution the Musée de l’Orangerie. “We look forward to the new possibilities the expansion will bring to the museum and to welcoming and sparking a deeper connection with our visitors.”