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Orsay Museum Watch © unsplash

The American Friends Musée d’Orsay (AFMO) is a U.S. non-profit organisation initiated by American citizens who recognised the contribution made by the Musée d’Orsay to American museums and to the American public.

In 2008, motivated by the highly successful collaboration between the Art Institute of Chicago and the Musée d’Orsay, Guy Cogeval, President of the Orsay, and Olivier Simmat, Director of International Relations and Development, enthusiastically supported the creation of an “American Friends” organisation.

Orsay Museum
Orsay Museum © unsplash

The story continued in 2009 when Paris residents and cofounders Sherry Johnson and Guy Cogeval organised the first, enthusiastically received gala at the Musée d’Orsay in 2010.

Since then, AFMO has been committed to nurturing a collaborative French-American partnership in the arts by building support for the Orsay and Orangerie museums. It has grown and thrived, now boasting more than 300 members.

At the Orsay
At the Orsay. AFMO gala 2019. © Krystal Kenney

At the annual gala, patrons of AFMO can experience the best that Paris has to offer. Art enthusiasts and lovers of Parisian culture will get a taste of dazzling opportunities at this year’s gala weekend (October 21-24) when they are invited to toast AFMO’S 10th anniversary.

Every year the festivities kick-off with a cocktail reception at an exclusive venue where art lovers and Francophiles reunite, anticipating the showcase of Parisian wonders that membership in AFMO provides.

A small sampling of this year’s events includes a private tour of the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, a spectacular new site dedicated to contemporary art; a rare visit to the High Jewelry workshops at Cartier; or for a real kick – a behind the scenes tour of the Moulin Rouge, the legendary Belle Époque cabaret; and an afternoon visit to le Ritz Paris, to experience L’Art de la Table – the art of fine dining à la Française.

At the Orsay
At the Orsay. AFMO gala 2019. © Krystal Kenney

This menu continues with an exclusive visit and cocktail soirée to see the David Hockney exhibition – A Year in Normandie. The culture-packed weekend continues on Saturday with an intimate visit to the Chateau de Versailles.

Saturday evening, members will don their finest attire to attend a gala evening with the champagne flowing at the Musée d’Orsay, including a private visit of the special exhibition Cinema at Last! Arts, images and entertainment in France 1833 – 1907, along with a dinner in the opulent Salle de Fêtes, a former 19th-century ballroom.

The gala weekend concludes with a farewell breakfast at Le Bristol Paris, and a guided walk through the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Napoléon III’s alluring English garden.

Orsay Museum
Orsay Museum © pixabay

The weekend is a moveable feast as members celebrate art and friendship, while getting exclusive access to venues and experiencing the pride of supporting Franco-American friendship and cultural enrichment for the Musée d’Orsay and l’Orangerie.

Details on membership can be found by visiting the organization’s website, www.aforsay.org

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Barbara Gerber
A native of Los Angeles, Barbara is the France Today Ambassador for L.A. She graduated from UCLA with a BA degree in Political Science, and also received her JD degree from UCLA School of Law. While at UCLA, she spent her junior year in Grenoble, France. From that time on, she has been an avid and passionate Francophile. She has visited almost every region in France, and still pursues French language courses in Los Angeles. She has an apartment in Paris and continues to visit France every year.

1 COMMENT

  1. The founders Seonaid McArthur and Sherry Johnson initiated the American Friends group, supported by then Orsay Director Guy Cogeval.

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