By Michel Laclotte
Art historian, curator, and museum director Michel Laclotte has been on the leading edge of French cultural lifestyles during the last part century. This casual autobiography sheds mild on his excellent profession with heat and directness. Highlights contain 20 years as leader curator of portray and sculpture on the Musée du Louvre, heading the staff 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 artwork scholarship, intrigue, and fulfillment, Laclotte introduces a rare forged of characters who set Frances cultural course within the postwar interval from Charles de Gaulle and André Malraux within the Nineteen Fifties to François Mitterand within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties. His tale overlaps with nearly each significant scholarly determine in French paintings historical past of the final half-century, in addition to Laclottes mentors and co-workers 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 switch within the museum international, this quantity can be crucial examining for paintings global afficianados and all scholars of artwork and smooth culture.
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Extra info for A Key to the Louvre
It is not my intent in this memoir to speak as a professional historian. This book was written from interviews that draw upon personal recollections, with limited recourse to documentary sources in verifying dates, titles, or quotations. In other words, it presents an inevitably partial viewpoint. Many facts relating to these stories have therefore remained unspoken, generally because I didn’t know, remember, or correctly interpret them. On top of which, needless to say, I was not able to mention everyone I’ve encountered during the past half-century.
Since I was fairly young and did not have all the requisite training, especially in Latin—to my shame, as my grandfather taught it—I washed out in my first year at the Ecole des Chartes. Meanwhile, the rules had changed: the administration abolished the exemption that ensured paleographers admittance into the advanced section of the Ecole du Louvre. At that point, I had two choices: either continue studying to be an archivist or take the qualifying exam for the Louvre, which is what I decided to do.
He was always able to speak of his painting eloquently and simply. We became friends, and I still admire what he’s doing: some of the paintings he recently showed in Paris, less monumental than his “polyptychs,” show yet another exciting evolution in his work. Conti’s little gallery showed a different installation every month. I bought a Hartung and a Schneider charcoal drawing there. We also paid frequent visits to Denise René’s on Rue La Boétie, where we could see artists such as Vasarely, Mortensen, Poliakoff (at least at the beginning), and most of the artists from the New Paris School.