Louvre Gets Its First Female Leader in 228 Years

The Louvre is to have a feminine president for the primary time in the Paris museum’s 228-year historical past.

Laurence des Cars, who’s presently president of two different Paris establishments, the Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie, will take over the job — probably the most necessary in the artwork world — on Sep. 1, France’s tradition ministry said in a news release on Wednesday.

She will take over the museum — which has an annual price range of 240 million euros (about $291 million), greater than 2,000 workers and a regional outpost in northern France — at a troublesome time. The pandemic has put a break on worldwide tourism. Before it hit final 12 months, the Louvre was getting about 10 million annual guests, making it essentially the most visited museum in the world.

Her mission will embrace drawing extra younger individuals into the museum, the information launch mentioned, and an elevated give attention to worldwide partnerships.

Des Cars, 54, is one thing of a Louvre insider, having studied artwork historical past on the École du Louvre, the museum’s faculty. She oversaw the event of Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum in the United Arab Emirates that leases the Louvre’s model and which opened in 2017.

That 12 months, she was appointed to run the Musée d’Orsay, the place she has been praised for exhibitions made in collaboration with companions such because the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid. The 2019 present “Black Models: From Géricault to Matisse,” which centered on beforehand neglected Black figures in French artwork and was developed with the Wallach Art Gallery in New York, is taken into account a landmark of her tenure.

“A great museum must face history, including by looking back at the history of our own institutions,” she informed Agence France-Presse in an interview in April.

Des Cars is amongst few girls to have led main French museums. That dearth is “a consequence of official institutions not reaching out to women enough, or not giving them enough confidence,” des Cars mentioned in a 2018 interview with The New York Times. But there’s additionally “the issue of self-censorship — of women thinking, ‘I’m not up to that kind of job,’” she mentioned.

“Women need to overcome their personal doubts, and to tell themselves: ‘I’m capable of this. It’s coming at the right time in my life and in my career. I’m ready for this,’” des Car added.

The Louvre belongs to the French state, so France’s president appoints the museum’s chief.

A couple of months in the past, it was assumed that Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre’s president since 2013, was assured a 3rd, three-year time period. Under his tenure, the Louvre grew customer numbers previous 10 million for the primary time. Its landmark Leonardo exhibition, which ended a couple of weeks earlier than France went right into a nationwide lockdown final 12 months, drew rave reviews and a record million visitors.

Yet critics accused Martinez of cheapening the museum’s model by forming partnerships with brands like Uniqlo, permitting a pair to spend an evening in the museum as part of a marketing campaign for Airbnb and leasing the area to Beyoncé and Jay-Z to movie the music video for their song “Apes**t.” (The Louvre additionally options prominently in the Netflix hit “Lupin,” one of many platform’s most-watched collection.)

In March, after a dispute over a new color scheme in one of many Louvre’s galleries grew to become a weekslong speaking level in France’s information media, Henri Loyrette, a former president of the museum, threw his weight behind Martinez’s critics. He and one other high-ranking former Louvre official gave testimony in a lawsuit introduced by the Cy Twombly Foundation, which mentioned the brand new paint job had disfigured a ceiling mural by the summary American painter.

Martinez will proceed on the museum, which reopened on May 19 after months of being closed, till Aug. 31. He will then change into a heritage ambassador, chargeable for coordinating France’s participation in worldwide initiatives, the information launch mentioned.

Des Cars didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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