In Colour, Polychrome Sculpture in France, the exhibition at Paris Musée d’Orsay

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Published by Elodie D. · Photos by Elodie D. · Updated on 24 August 2018 at 16h15 · Published on 12 June 2018 at 15h12
Come from June 12 to September 9, 2018 and discover sculptures in color at Paris Musée d’Orsay. Through a beautiful exhibition, the Musée d’Orsay promotes the work of some artists who painted a medium they often left the white marble blank in the 19th century.

From June 12 to September 9, 2018, Paris Musée d’Orsay surprises us with its compelling exhibition “In Colour, Polychrome Sculpture in France from 1850 to 1910”. On the 2nd floor of the Musée d’Orsay, the museum devoted to art in the 19th and 20th centuries, this display reveals us unknown works, sculptures painted in the 19th century!

In the 10th century, while the “official” color of statues used to be the white of the marble (and the monochromatic patina on bronzes), artists started to come back to colors by getting inspired by Antique sculptures.

One of the first to start the trend was Charles Cordier. He enjoys the rediscovery of the Algerian quarry of marble-onyx to bring color to his sculptures. Thanks to his experiments, artists dare to use painted waxes and marbles, assembled colored marbles, golden and silver bronzes, glass paste, enameled sandstone, materials used allow to enhance figures and make them more real.

Henry Cros, Louis-Ernest Barrias, Jean Carriès, Paul Gauguin, Degas, many of them face up the challenge to sculpt in color. Degas’ work even result in a scandal with his The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, a wax statue depicting Marie Van Goethem, a “petit rat de l’opéra” from Paris Opera, weighing up the audience, dressed in true clothes (corset, chiffon tutu, stockings, slippers and wig). For the first time, because of how real it looks, one becomes aware that models are naked when they pose! Shock and terror…

Come and discover over 100 sculptures brought together in the Musée d’Orsay areas, through a very beautiful display running from June 12 to September 9, 2018.

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
From 11 June 2018 to 16 September 2018



    62 rue de Lille
    75007 Paris 7

    -26 ans UE: Free
    tarif réduit: €9
    tarif plein: €12

    Average duration
    2 h

    Official website

    More informations
    Horaires : 9h30-18h tous les jours sauf le lundi, nocturne jeudis jusqu'à 21h45

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