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Muses d'Orsay

Muses d’Orsay is my response to a commission from the Musée d’Orsay asking me to photograph the museum’s employees in their place of work. With the Musée d’Orsay housing the national collection of 19th century works, I suggested that each employee take his or her own photograph with a rubber bulb snap like in the old days. Each person had ten takes, in other words a roll of film. It was up to each to choose when and how they would be photographed. So they became artists for the time it took them to photograph themselves and thus assume responsibility for their own image.

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Philippe Thiébaut head curator of the 1900 art collections with the museum since 1980. Favorite work of art: Femme assoupie sur un lit, also known as L’Indolente by Pierre Bonnard : « I was hired here to constitute the decorative arts collections for the period 1900. I had the chance to organize exhibitions devoted to major personalities, i.e. Émile Gallé or Hector Guimard. As I was doing research on Gallé, I met a number of collectioners’ descendents, including the actress, Delphine Seyrig. Then there was the granddaughter of Roger Marx, an art critic friend of Gallé’s. He had collected a remarkable sampling of the master glass-worker’s works. I will never forget the day when Gallé’s granddaughter opened the door of a cupboard at the end of a long hallway, and I discovered several astounding vases, including the Eaux dormantes urn, a unique piece especially made by Gallé in 1890 for her grandfather. A few years later, in order to keep a promise she had made to donate the urn to the museum some day, she bequethed it to us through a donation system [the French government has]. And last year, the museum was able to purchase another Gallé masterpiece that once belonged to Delphine Seyrig’s grandfather, the Brûlantes semailles vase. »