The gift will help launch "Orsay Grand Ouvert" (Orsay Wide Open), a project designed to expand the amount of public and exhibition space in the museum, which is housed in a Beaux-Arts railway station on the Left Bank, by converting thirteen thousand square feet of administrative offices into new galleries and centers for education and research. A nearly seven thousand-square-foot education center is planned for 2023-24, while a new wing that will expand exhibition spaces for the museum's world-renowned Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections by nearly thirteen thousand square feet is scheduled to open by 2026.
The new galleries will help the museum accommodate recent acquisitions and gifts, including more than six hundred works of art valued at $381 million pledged by American art collectors Marlene and Spencer Hays in 2016.
"This goes beyond the question of the display of the collection. We also want to fulfill our mission in a more modern and complete way," said Laurence des Cars, president of the museum and its sister institution, the Musée de l'Orangerie, which houses Monet's Water Lilies. "Visitors are no longer just expecting a museum to display works of art but to offer a complete experience."