Musée d'Orsay announces campaign to restore Gustave Courbet's 'The Painter's Studio'

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Musée d'Orsay announces campaign to restore Gustave Courbet's 'The Painter's Studio'
Head curator in charged of painting studies at the French Museums Research and Restoration centre (C2RMF) Bruno Mottin looks at a full-size X-ray of a painting 'L'Atelier du Peintre' ('The Artist's studio') by late French artist Gustave Courbet prior to restore it, on December 1, 2014 at the Louvre Museum in Paris. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK.

PARIS.- Acquired by the State through public subscription in 1920, the painting The Painter's Studio (1854-1855) by Gustave Courbet is a universal masterpiece that is part of France's cultural heritage. After surviving more than a century of turbulent history, this 22 m² canvas is now in need of restoration.

As this treasure belongs to everyone in France, the Musée d'Orsay is once again calling on the generosity of the public to help finance its restoration and to enable as many people as possible to participate in this project, beyond the traditional patrons.

As an exception, the work is being restored at the exhibition site and visitors are able to follow the progress of the experts' work on a day-to day-basis, over several months.

It has taken at least 18 months of in-depth studies and of collecting scientific and analytical data, along with other assessments, to determine the suitability and necessity, or otherwise, of an eventual intervention, and its feasibility.

The restoration is led by a Scientific Committee of Experts that are systematically monitoring the development of the project for several months. It consists of members of the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF), heritage curators, restorers and experts in Courbet’s work.

The Musée d'Orsay is offering you, for a minimum of €5 ($7), an opportunity to participate in the project. Show your commitment to culture and the world’s heritage by playing your part in saving a masterpiece. This appeal to your generosity is in everyone’s interest, enabling individual donors to benefit from an income tax reduction of 66% on the amount of the gift, and with a reduction of 60% for corporate donors.

The restoration is taking place in situ. A special glass screen has been installed in the gallery housing Gustave Courbet’s large-scale paintings, on the ground floor of the Pavillon Amont, to enable the public to follow every step of this operation. The aim is to make as many people as possible aware of all that is involved in a restoration.

What are the fund for?
The total amount estimated for this intervention is around €600,000 ($760 754). A project like this requires several months of work by over 30 people with different and complementary skills. The museum expects half of this amount to be raised through individual and corporate sponsors. They are relying on your help to achieve this objective.

To mobilise and coordinate this exceptional project, the museum is launching its 1st crowdfunding initiative since it opened in 1986. The first step has been reached and the adventure keeps going! Next objective : €60 000 !

The Musée d’Orsay, installed in a former Parisian railway station, exhibits works of art - paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and photographs – produced between 1848 and 1914. It has, among others, the greatest collection of Impressionist paintings in the world, including masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and Van Gogh. Every year, over 3.7 million visitors come to (re)discover its collections.

Towards the end of 2009, the Musée d'Orsay renovated and reorganised its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries on the top floor, along with the four floors of the "Pavillon Amont" through which these are accessed. The renovation work, which took place throughout 2010, has enhanced the presentation of the artworks, ensured a better visitor flow, increased the surface of display areas and improved visitor comfort. Special attention was paid to lighting and to wall colours, and visitor circuits completely reassessed, all of which has contributed to the birth of a Nouvel Orsay.

As part of this initiative, the Musée d'Orsay has clearly stated its pro-active policy in preventative restoration, in close collaboration with the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des musées de France (C2RMF).

Today's News

December 8, 2014

Musée d'Orsay announces campaign to restore Gustave Courbet's 'The Painter's Studio'

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