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Musée d’Orsay lifts photo ban in wake of culture minister’s Instagram gaffe

French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin at a fashion show in Paris in March 2015
French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin at a fashion show in Paris in March 2015 Miguel Medina, AFP
2 min

The Musée d’Orsay in Paris lifted its long-standing ban on photographing its paintings on Wednesday, after an Instagram picture posted by France’s culture minister set off a chorus of complaints.

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Numerous people took issue with a picture of a masterpiece by French artist Pierre Bonnard posted Monday by Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin on the popular photo-sharing site Instagram, objecting that the famed museum was extending special privileges to the minister not enjoyed by the public.

The Musée d’Orsay responded to Pellerin’s gaffe by lifting the ban, which had been in force since 2009.

Once a train station on the banks of the river Seine, the imposing museum now houses one of the world’s best collections of French artwork, especially from the impressionist period.

While snapping pictures of its priceless artwork is now authorised, the Musée d’Orsay warned that flash photography, tripods and so-called “selfie sticks” remained forbidden.

It also said that some paintings and other artwork in its temporary exhibitions were still out of bounds for picture takers, and would be labelled as such.

According to museum management, the photo ban came into effect six years ago with the advent of now ubiquitous smartphones, to promote a more comfortable experience for visitors.

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