I spent the afternoon at the Musée D’Orsay yesterday. If you have never had the thrill of seeing it, please put it on your bucket list. It is the third most popular musée nationally and tenth in the world. It houses masterpieces from the mid 1800’s through the early 1900’s, the likes of Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, just to name a few. And as if that were not enough, the building is a former Beaux-Arts railway station built in the late 1800’s, a masterpiece of art in and of itself.
Here are just a few images to give you the general idea.
I took this one last night as I was leaving. The D’Orsay is the building on the right.
And here is one of the interior, taken from the third of five floors.
Strolling through this vast (it is one of the largest museums in Europe) and other worldly environment, soaking up one amazing slice of art after the next, it is easy to get lost imagining what it must have been like during the time of these gifted souls. Housing predominantly Impressionism, or the tide that would be become Impressionism, which inevitably rolled into post Impressionism, Picasso, Cubism, Dadaism and on down to Andy Warhol and today’s modern artists, like Yayoi Kusama.
It is also far too easy to forget that these were mavericks not only the art world, but the world in general. They bucked the system by refusing to follow the path outlined for them. They rejected the rules of the academy; essentially, flipping off the powers that held their future livelihood; insisting they would not paint or sculpt ‘academically’. They chose instead to starve, literally, buying fruit to set up still life’s, rather than eat; as opposed to cave and lose their dreams. Imagine, if you will, the paintings that now sell for millions, being rejected and scorned. Most of the artists featured in this museum never made a living at their art.
And yet, it is wall to wall people as soon as the doors open, crowded with throngs of visitors from the world over,
Van Gogh, for example, sold only one painting in his entire lifetime. He was too poor to buy new canvas. Instead, he painted over his old ones. Experts say that using X-ray equipment, they have detected many of his works have one or more paintings underneath them.
And yet, starring at several of those same, previously rejected and ridiculed masterpieces this very day, I am moved to tears. It is as if he took out a small piece of his heart with which to mix the very paints.
Why does any of this matter?
Because dreams matter.
Their dreams matter.
Your dreams matter.
These amazing men and women changed the course of history. Believing in themselves more than they feared rejection, they changed the way we view art today. And the world.
Let me say it again, your dreams matter.
As parents, or aunts, or god mothers, we tell the children in our care that they are important, that their dreams and goals and passions are important. Why is it so easy to do that for the ones we love and so very hard to do it for ourselves?