French Art Museum Musée d’Orsay Integrates NFTs to Attract New Audiences

The French art museum announced partnering with the Tezos Foundation to integrate its collection into the conversation involving the on-chain digital artists. The Parisian museum aims to deliver blockchain-backed experiences into its collection of masterpieces of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist era. 

The move by Musée d’Orsay to partner with Tezos arises from the need to resolve declining traffic since the Covid lockdowns in 2021. The management downplayed the low traffic in the belief that the commitment to cultural enlightenment among the French people would prevail, thereby restoring the museum attendance to the pre-pandemic figures. 

Musée d’Orsay Leverages Tezos Blockchain to Restore Pre-Covid Levels

The Musée d’Orsay development director Guillaume Roux decried that the traffic dried up even after opening the doors. He indicated that the huge crowds were no more. Young and French people came less. As such, the development executive admits that they realized the need to fight and restore the traffic lost.

The Parisian museum would, in October 2021, welcome Christophe Leribault as the new president. The new leader was tasked with opening the art museum to the masses. Roux admitted that the president’s duty involved talking to all people, even those who had never visited the museum. 


Leribault urged the internal team to explore the viability of leveraging blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He observed that both segments spark debates across the art space. The director sought to find a mechanism to harness its capability to attract new and younger audiences to visit the Orsay. 

Approximately two years later, the Museum announced partnering with the Tezos Foundation to offer blockchain-backed artworks. The move was indicative of successful exploration. Also, the year-long partnership is poised to integrate the on-chain digital artists into the active conversation regarding Orsay’s collections and exhibitions.

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Orsay Embraces NFTs in Upcoming Exhibition

The Musée d’Orsay indicated that the partnership starts with it offering on-chain digital souvenirs to the visitors linked to the upcoming exhibition. In particular, the museum is set to offer digital souvenirs linked to Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: The Final Months exhibition starting on October 3. The exhibition targets exploring the masterpieces by the Dutch Painter, though restricted to two months of his life.  

The Friday announcement indicated that patrons and online collectors could buy two digital souvenirs linked with the exhibition that starts on Tuesday. The digital souvenirs offered are the augmented reality work showing van Goh’s final Palette. Also, online collectors can purchase the original KERU-crafted digital piece inspired by Van Gogh. 

The announcement clarified that collectors can mint both art pieces on the Tezos blockchain. The piece will integrate gamified elements, allowing the holder the opportunity to win lifetime passes to the Musée d’Orsay. Also, the holders can secure invitations to the opening galas held at the facility. Leribault indicated that the facility will offer 2300 NFTs each available for $21.

The Friday statement indicated that Orsay and Tezos Foundation will collaborate on several conferences and educational programs. As such, the collaboration targets exposing the museum’s audience to blockchain technologies. 

Leribault illustrated that the Orsay plans in 2024 prioritize the invitation of digital artists leveraging the blockchain in creating NFT collections based on the art pieces within its permanent collection. It replicates the program initiated by the Museum of Art in Los Angeles (LACMA).

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Blockchain-related Initiatives at Orsay Facilitating its Relevance to New Audience

Valerie Whitacre, TriliTech’s art executive within the London-headquartered Tezos hub for adoption, cherished teaming up with the Orsay to execute its blockchain-related initiatives. The executive perceives Orsay’s new initiatives as perfectly aligned with the deep ties with the Impressionist movement.

Whitacre lauded the long lineage that Musée d’Orsay has in collecting artists that would have faced rejection by traditionalists. Also, he harboured positive sentiment about how Leribault’s team is experimenting with crypto art, changing art consumption while relating to the museum’s history.

Roux admitted that the Orsay restored the pre-pandemic levels as it ranks the tenth-most visited museum globally. The development executive dismissed the traffic tag and instead admitted the need to bring awareness and inspire conversations among the new and young generations. 

Roux indicates that though Orsay is experiencing large crowds, the urgency to overcome the 2021 challenge is vital. He indicates that unless the 19th-century museum creates new initiatives to converse and represent itself differently, it will remain an old-century storeroom. 

Editorial credit: Takashi Images / 

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Stephen Causby

Stephen Causby is an experienced crypto journalist who writes for Tokenhell. He is passionate for coverage in crypto news, blockchain, DeFi, and NFT.

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