By Michel Laclotte
Art historian, curator, and museum director Michel Laclotte has been on the vanguard of French cultural lifestyles during the last part century. This casual autobiography sheds mild on his amazing occupation with heat and directness. Highlights contain 20 years as leader curator of portray and sculpture on the Musée du Louvre, heading the crew that created the Musée dOrsay, and taking the reins of the Louvre to steer the hassle that culminated within the museums transformation into the “Grand Louvre,” one of many worlds preeminent cultural attractions.
Raising the curtain on fifty years of Western paintings scholarship, intrigue, and fulfillment, Laclotte introduces a unprecedented solid of characters who set Frances cultural course within the postwar interval from Charles de Gaulle and André Malraux within the Fifties to François Mitterand within the Eighties and Nineteen Nineties. His tale overlaps with almost each significant scholarly determine in French paintings background of the final half-century, in addition to Laclottes mentors and associates all through and past Europe, from Roberto Longhi and Anthony Blunt to Sir John Pope-Hennessy and Millard Meiss. An incomparable testomony to a interval of seismic swap within the museum international, this quantity could be crucial analyzing for paintings global afficianados and all scholars of paintings and smooth culture.
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Extra resources for A Key to the Louvre
Our families had been neighbors in Saint-Malo; we had met up again in Paris, and she told me of her own career path—liberal arts, then art history and museum studies. One thing is certain: from early on, I was interested in the collections and exhibitions in provincial museums. On my vacations in Colmar, Angers, Laval, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Nancy, and Montpellier, I began visiting all the local museums that had been reopened to the public. I still have the notes in which I completely reorganized the Musée Fabre at Montpellier—a tad presumptuous, to say the least!
I wish I could say that I saw the Pollock exhibition at the Facchetti gallery, or Vehemence Confronted in 1951, but it isn’t the case. I knew Tobey, who was more like the Parisians. I became a less active observer of the galleries as of 1953–54, absorbed as I was in my work for the Louvre and my trips to the provinces. I was no longer a student by then and had a full-time job. But I never lost my interest in recent works, in following the progress of the artists I had loved as a student, or in seeing others of the same family emerge, such as Olivier Debré, Tàpies, Geneviève Asse, Hantaï, and the great Americans: Rothko and Barnett Newman, then Jasper Johns (it’s no surprise, given my inveterate taste for painterly painting, that I preferred him over the other Pop artists) and Sam Francis.
In particular, there were exhibitions at the Orangerie, either major loan shows or scholarly exhibitions based on original research—such as The Golden Age of Toulouse Painting in 1946 or Philippe de Champaigne in 1952—and at the Petit Palais, where the director, André Chamson, put great emphasis on display. After a show of French masterpiece paintings from the Louvre, there was a remarkable series of exhibits from museums in Vienna, Berlin, and Munich, which brought “home” to us, as it were, scores of European master paintings of all kinds.
A Key to the Louvre by Michel Laclotte