In April, the authorities at the Musée d’Orsay imposed a ban on all photography within the museum. This has not been a popular decision and protests continue. The CGT (Confédération Générale du Travail), representing the security staff at the museum have serious reservations and questions have been put to the Minister of Culture and Communication by Patrick Beaudouin, UMP Deputy for Val de Marne and Mayor of Saint-Mandé. Read more about this by following this link. An attempt on the part of the Louvre to implement a similar ban failed in 2005 when security guards were unable to cope with the volume of miscreants. The CGT claims that postcard sales are the museum’s most profitable activity and the action is intended to safeguard this profit stream. The museum rejects this accusation and maintains the position that safety of artworks, the movement of visitors and massive abuse of the previous prohibition on flash photography justifies the ban. Below is a translation of the formal response to all the hostile comments in the museum’s online Visitors’ Book.
This measure has no commercial purpose. To preserve the comfort of visitors and the safety of artworks, visitors are now prohibited from photographing or filming in the museum. This is particularly due to the numerous shots "at arm's length" via mobile phones. Reproductions of most works in the collections can be downloaded from the website.
Despite all this, there’s much to photograph around the outside of the museum and to begin on a sombre note on the facade overlooking the Seine is this commemorative plaque reminding us of the grim episode in 1945 when the empty building was a reception centre for the repatriation of French citizens abducted by the Nazis. More here about this in a previous posting. There is also an interesting group of large-scale animal sculptures on the museum plaza that is widely ignored by most visitors. Prominent among them is Jeune éléphant pris au piège (Young Elephant Caught in a Trap) by Emmanuel Frémiet (1824-1910) originally made for the 1878 Exposition Universelle and formerly installed at Trocadéro. Another attraction is the imposing bronze Rhinocéros by Henri-Alfred Jacquemart (1824-96).