In May 2012, a train on the ‘C’ Line of the R.E.R. commuter rail system was entirely decorated in a Château and Gardens of Versailles theme, using films made by 3M Commercial Graphics in France, and in the following December, the locomotives of a T.G.V. high-speed train and a T.E.R. regional express train, were decorated with reproductions of the Delacroix painting Liberty Leading the People to celebrate the inauguration of the Louvre-Lens museum.
Impressed by the success of these advertising campaigns, the famous Parisian, ‘Musée d’Orsay’ wanted to also become involved and decided to take Paris-region commuters on a trip back to the time of the French artistic school, the Impressionists.
In partnership with S.N.C.F.-French Railways, and the S.T.I.F. (the Île-de-France transit authority), a train on the ‘J’ Line has just been covered with warranted durable graphic films from 3M, in the colours and images of both the museum and the Impressionist artists.
During their rail trip, commuters can admire Morning, Sun by Camille Pissarro or Claude Monet’s Blue Water Lilies, or the famous clock on the glass wall of the Musée d’Orsay. It is an innovative and creative way of adding some beauty and history to an ordinary travelling day, and also introducing or reminding the general public about art.
There are close ties between the French railways and Impressionism. The ‘J’ Line, which links Paris’s Gare Saint-Lazare and Vernon, travels through many locations and landscapes that served as inspiration to many Impressionist artists – Asnières-sur-Seine, Argenteuil, Pontoise to mention a few.
In fact, the Impressionist painters travelled on the same railway lines – Monet lived in Argenteuil, Vétheuil, Poissy and Giverny; Renoir regularly stayed in Chatou, and Pissarro lived in Pontoise for several years; and, of course, the Musée d’Orsay began life AS a railway station before it became a museum.
Similar to the Versailles and Louvre-Lens trains, the self-adhesive, digitally printed graphic films applied were from 3M Commercial Graphics in France, with wear-protective laminates which protect from graffiti damage.
Overall, it was a ‘win-win’ operation for all concerned: passengers travel in a pleasant environment, the museum arouses the interest of a new audience, and S.N.C.F. and S.T.I.F. protect the interior of their trains, generate attention... and have noted that vandalism is less of a problem in the “train-museums”!