Refreshment for "The Electricity Fairy", the largest painting in the world

Raoul Dufy's "Electricity Fairy" measures 60 meters long and 10 meters high.

© Pierre Antoine

Text by: Sébastien Jédor Follow

4 min

The work is 600 square meters.

“The Electricity Fairy”, by Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in the city of Paris, has just been completely restored;

or more exactly "dusted", according to the term of the conservatives.

A colossal operation scheduled approximately every 20 years.


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With its 60 meters long and 10 m high,

La Fée Electricité

occupies a huge semi-circular room at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

The painting was produced for the international exhibition of 1937: it occupied an entire wall of the hall of the Palace of Light and Electricity.

This monumental painting entered the museum's collections in 1964, sold by Électricité de France (EDF).


 It's a masterpiece, 

" says Fabrice Hergott, the museum director, who insists



 the vitality and freedom 

" of this painting by Dufy.

The painter uses mythology (Zeus is part of the game), but he also represents objects ... and no less than 108 scholars!

 Dufy has a wide view,

specifies Fabrice Hergott.

It offers a complete panorama, between, on the one hand, technology and, on the other hand, natural elements.

The representation of trees, of the wind in the leaves, for example, is fabulous!

At the same time, he documented himself to represent very precise technologies, both the Ivry thermal power station, near Paris, as well as radio stations, the ancestor of the radio, or objects now forgotten 


Drone and scaffolding

Details that can be seen even better after dusting off La Fée Electricité.

An operation made necessary following work carried out at the museum and which, despite all the precautions taken, may have tarnished the painting, knowing that, in any case, such a work must be cleaned every twenty years or so.

Detail of “The Electricity Fairy”, by Raoul Duffy.

© Pierre Antoine

The Electric Fairy was first photographed from all angles in very high definition, which had never been done.

The painting is so huge that we had to use a drone!

Then, ten restorers inspected the 18,000 screws of the panels that make up the work.

Half of these panels were repaired by these experts perched on scaffolding and secured by a "thread of life", like mountaineers.

The working conditions require special authorization ...

Color vividness

As for the actual dusting, the result is "


", enthuses Sophie Krebs, the museum curator in charge of this extraordinary operation.

 The interstices between the 250 panels had blackened.

By cleaning them, we found a greater fluidity in the work.

On the whole picture,

continues the curator,

we removed a sort of gray veil and thus found an incredible vividness of colors.

Here, in the center, there is a panel in shades of sky blue and white, with a purple lightning bolt.

I didn't even remember that lightning bolt was that color! 


The “facelift” of La Fée Electricité lasted three months at a cost of € 80,000, fully supported by the city of Paris, without appealing to sponsorship.

The public will be able to rediscover this "

 work - ambitious and complex program 

", in the words of director Fabrice Hergott, when the museum reopens to the public, as soon as sanitary conditions allow.

But in the meantime, Internet users around the world can discover the smallest details,

in 360 ° thanks to the photos taken

on the occasion of this "great cleaning".


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