The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has hired its first "Instagram artist-in-residence" to imagine how artists from the past such as Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh would have used social media today.

Paintings inside the Musee d'Orsay in Paris
Musée d’Orsay in Paris has hired its first "Instagram artist-in-residence" ©Takashi Images/Shutterstock

Illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vogue and Vanity Fair, will depict a different artist from history as an Instagram user for the Musée d’Orsay and imagine what they would have posted if they shared our addiction to social media. His illustrations will be shared on the museum's Instagram account every Monday at 5pm for the duration of 2020. 

In a statement, the museum said that the purpose of the Instagram artist-in-residence project is to highlight the artists in the museum's collection by imagining them as contemporary figures. "The aim [of the residency] is to bring these artists of the second half of the 19th century closer by enrolling them in today’s interactions."

A sketch of Huysmans_Forain by Jean-Philippe Delhomme.jpg
Delhomme's first illustration as Instagram artist-in-residence © Jean-Philippe Delhomme

The project will examine a particular moment in an artist's history and imagine how they might have behaved on the social media stage: such as sharing ideas and insecurities, engaging in self-promotion or taking "positions in the debates of the moment."

The first illustration, published on 6 January, depicts a portrait of French novelist and art critic Joris-Karl Huysmans, which Delhomme implies was sketched by Huysmans' friend, the painter Jean-Louis Forain in 1878. “Thank you @JL.Forain for my portrait,” reads the caption, which is “liked" by @degas @JL.Forain and 13 others. Rather fittingly, Huysmans is currently the subject of a new exhibition at the museum.

Musée d’Orsay in Paris ©Shutterstock

The project is similar to Delhomme's book Artists' Instagrams (published in 2019), a collection of illustrations which depict the social media accounts of artists such as Paul Gauguin, Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso. In one drawing, Mondrian is painting his IKEA kitchen, in another Picasso collaborates with a car brand; while Gauguin behaves like an influencer by posting travel photographs of Polynesian nudes.

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