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The breathtaking interior of Musee d'Orsay in Paris is the inspiration behind the jewelry piece Voûte.  This necklace is one of the very first pieces of jewelry that I started to design in my metal etching and enameling class, and the one that made me think maybe I could do this whole jewelry design thing.  So needless to say I adore it. As you can see, this piece has transformed from the earlier designs from an enameled pendant to the lasercut wood and brass pendant shown below.

Voute necklace inspired by Musee d'Orsay

Tom and I visited Musee d'Orsay on our "holiday" in Europe.  Americans really don't use the word holiday so much, but our trip for us was so much more than a vacation so it seems appropriate to adopt this term.  Paris was our very last destination after about 80 European cities we visited.  Yes I said 80!  We definitely packed it all in to that trip.  

Even though we were somewhere in the double digits for how many art museums we had visited on the trip, Musee d'Orsay immediately became one of our favorites.   Two things led to this.  It not only contains the largest collection of impressionist and post impressionist masterpieces of the world, but it’s all housed under a spectacular steel and glass vault, a remnant from the building's past life.  

musee dorsay interior

musee dorsay clock interior vault

The building was originally a railway station, Gare d’Orsay, built in 1900 for the Paris World’s Fair under the direction of architect Victor Laloux. This Beaux-Arts beauty fit in nicely with it's neighbors, and was a cutting edge train station for it's time being the first station designed for electrically powered trains.  The Musee d'Orsay website has a great visual timeline on their website that you can find here.

musee dorsay exteriorPhoto credit Musée d'Orsay

gare dorsay

Once the trains outgrew the station (literally, the platforms were too small for newer/larger trains), it was used here and there for various things, none of which really capitalized on the beauty of the space. I once saw a picture of it being used as a car parking lot if that tells you anything. Fast forward 86 years after it's construction, when the museum opened to help bridge the art gap between Musée du Louvre and Centre Pompidou.  Designers of the museum renovation included ACT Architecture & Gae Aulenti for the interiors.   

It just so happens this "art bridge" contains some of mine and Tom's favorite artists: Van Gogh, Monet, Rodin, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec. 

musee dorsay Galerie_des_impressionnistesImpressionist Gallery | Photo credit Musée d'Orsay

musee dorsay Salle_Van_GoghVan Gogh Gallery | Photo credit Musée d'Orsay

musee dorsay Salle_impressEdgar Degas | Small Dancer aged 14 | Photo credit Musée d'Orsay

Tom and I wandered for hours through the maze of galleries, hunting for the next great masterpiece we could find.  But the crème de la crème was when we headed up to the balcony and found ourselves sandwiched between the intricately vaulted roof hovering above and the sea of bronze and stone sculptures nestled below.

musee dorsay panorama off on a tangent

This very space is what inspired this necklace, and is what I search for in every great building: that "feel good" spot where you can go and admire it all while your stresses of the day just melt away into a puddle.  

So whether you like train stations, art museums, impressionist painters, saving historic buildings, Paris, or just super stylish and unique jewelry, I hope you enjoy this Musee d'Orsay inspired necklace.  



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