Archives of the Dream, drawings from the Musée d'Orsay: carte blanche for
Digue la nuit. Reflets de lumière
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
© ADAGP, Paris 2014
26 March - 30 June 2014
The Musée d'Orsay boasts a collection of around 80,000 drawings, which includes
19,000 drawings relating to the decorative arts and to architecture, and over
700 pastels. The drawings are rarely exhibited because of their sensitivity to
light. The majority are kept in the graphic arts department of the Louvre,
organised by size and by school alongside works from previous centuries.
They can be consulted by the public in a silent reading room located in the
reserve collections, and constitute meticulously classified archives whose
secrets will surely never be fully revealed.
But these still vibrant
works have escaped becoming historical documents and have entered the realm of
dreams. As the common origin of all other arts, drawing is the nearest to the
creative act: the artist’s expression is not yet fixed. The alterations,
reworking, deletions, variations and variants that we see on the sheets of
studies and sketchbooks are all traces of the act of creation itself.
Alongside the thousands of preparatory pages, there are “fine drawings” that
are finished works in themselves. Whether a sketch or a finished work, the
drawing always retains the personal touch of the hand that sketched it and
coloured it. Requiring only the simplest tools and support, the drawing is the
ideal medium for artistic licence and graphic experimentation. With
self-portraits alongside sketches of daily life and fragments of the world, and
fantastic, dream-like visions, it is the artist’s private journal.
selection of 155 drawings is not intended to be representative of the
collection, too complex a task for one exhibition. Rather, it develops the
oxymoron and paradox of the "archives of the dream" through the unusual and
challenging approach of Werner Spies who was a friend of the most talented
artists of the 20th century in this medium, Ernst and Picasso.
Werner Spies, art historian, former director of the Musée
National Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou Leïla Jarbouai, curator of
drawings, Musée d'Orsay
Exhibition catalogue supported by LVMH / Moët Hennessy. Louis Vuitton and the American Friends Musée d'Orsay
With the support of Tollens for their paint contribution