Downstairs from Monet's Water Lilies is the permanent collection of the Orangerie: an exquisite collection of impressionist and post-impressionist painting, put together by influential art dealer Paul Guillaume and his wife Jean Walther.
Their support of living artists in the early part of the 20th century was often crucial to the artist's survival and ability to keep working.
It's fun to be greeted at the bottom of the stairs by Andre Derain's wild, L'Age d'or, (about 1938-1946).
Here's a detail to give you a sense of how it was painted.
The floor continues to the right with a long wall of Pierre-Auguste Renoirs.
Renoir is not particularly to our taste but Bill particularly liked his Portrait of two sisters,1890-1892.
Guillaume and Walter created a superb collection of Cézannes. Here's his Portrait du fils de l'artiste, 1881-1882,
Cézanne, Nature morte, pire et pommes vertes, c 1873.
I was drawn to Cézanne's Arbres et maisons, 1885-1886
His brushstrokes reward close attention: Arbres et maisons (detail)
Bill and I were pleased to find a handful of gorgeous, light paintings by Henri Matisse. Le Boudoir, 1921
Matisse also calls for close attention to brushstrokes: Le Boudoir (detail).
I liked this couple seated romantically before André Derain's Arlequin et Pierrot, 1924
At the same time Bill was capturing this couple in front of two Marie Laurencin paintings. That's Portrait de Madame Paul Guillaume on the left (about 1924). The collection obviously brings out the romantic in its viewers.
Maurice Utrillo, La Maison de Berlioz, 1914
André Derain, Nature morte au pander (around 1927).
Amedeo Modigliani, Fille rousse, 1915
The crowning touch for us was a stunning couple of rooms filled with paintings by Chaïm Soutine one of our favourite painters.
Chaïm Soutine, Portrait d'homme (Émile Lejeune), about 1922/23
Chaïm Soutine, La Jeunne Anglaise, about 1934.
La Jeunne Anglaise (detail)
Chaïm Soutine, Les Maisons, about 1920/21.
Chaïm Soutine, Paysage avec personage, about 1918-1919.
A feast of Soutines. The four paintings above are all paintings of meat. Apparently, this is the largest single collection of Soutine's work. Not to be missed!