A Key to the Louvre by Michel Laclotte

By Michel Laclotte

An artwork global insider presents a witty and penetrating account of 50 years on the middle of overseas culture.

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 superb profession 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 artwork scholarship, intrigue, and fulfillment, Laclotte introduces a rare forged of characters who set Frances cultural path 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 artwork 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 swap within the museum global, this quantity could be crucial examining for paintings international afficianados and all scholars of paintings and sleek culture.

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Indeed, Cassou endeavored with energy and conviction to increase his holdings or simply to fill in what had been glaring holes before the war. He had gone to see acquaintances such as Picasso, Braque, Bonnard, Léger, Chagall, and Matisse to obtain donations or buy works at the “friend’s discount,” and what he did manage to obtain was quite remarkable. Might they have given more? We can always dream. Matisse’s Moroccans hung at the museum for many years before being returned: might we have kept it?

Lavedan, who wrote several excellent books, taught a course on the notion of Baroque, reviving interest in what had been a great subject of intellectual debate before the war. in and remarks made during various symposia on the Baroque—which at the time was differentiated from Classicism, and not applied to all artistic creation of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as it is today—provided a change from strict scholasticism and helped illuminate the general history of creative styles and methods.

As of 1947, when I started at Lycée Henri IV, my friends and I went to the movies sometimes twice a day, especially to the Champollion. We absorbed everything: Carné’s films from before the war, Drôle de drame, Rules of the Game by Renoir—which remains one of my favorite films— Pagnol, Feyder’s La Kermesse héroïque, the Marx Brothers seen over and over again, Hellzapoppin, any western, Cukor and MacLaren and Lubitsch, and, of course, Orson Welles. And then came Ray (Johnny Guitar), Aldrich (Kiss Me Deadly), The Barefoot Contessa, and Lola Montes, discovered enthusiastically on its opening day, despite the public’s chilly reception.

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