An Agreement between Three American Institutions and the Louvre

Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
Cross in the Wilderness from a Poem by F.D. Hermansthe
Oil on Canvas - 61 x 61 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : RMNGP/J. G. Berizzi

8/12/11 - Museums - Louvre, Crystal Bridges Museum, High Museum of Art, Terra Foundation - The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (see some articles in french on its acquisitions) opened its doors to the public last 11 November. Specialized as its name indicates, in American Art, from the Colonial period to the 20th century, it was founded in 2005 by Alice Walton, one of the WalMart heirs and ranked as the sixth richest person in the world.
This establishment has associated itself with the Terra Foundation, which also holds an extensive collection of American works (with some works on deposit at the Art Institute of Chicago), the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Musée du Louvre. The four museums have in fact announced a partnership for a period of four years with the purpose of "setting up programs and exhibitions devoted to American and European art", with the goal being that of collaborating to create special-study exhibitions featuring works from their respective collections.

The project will be inaugurated in early 2012 at the Louvre with a small exhibition on the birth of landscape painting in America, including Thomas Cole (ill.) and Asher B. Durand, that is, two of the major exponents of the Hudson River School. The show will then travel to Bentonville and Atlanta.
Also, the Louvre will hold a day-long conference/debate on 14 January 2012 on American art in museums [1].

This kind of cooperation is similar to that sponsored by FRAME (French Regional and American Museums Exchange) on a wider level. It is in tune with the Louvre’s determination to further develop its activities (and its acquisitions, although no major work from this school has been recently added) around American art. Although it involves the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, this has nothing to do with the very contested Louvre-Atlanta operation. This is a normal, even very useful, agreement between museums, based on scholarly and investigative activities which will greatly benefit the Louvre and its visitors.

Version française

Didier Rykner, vendredi 9 décembre 2011


[1] The title of this event will be : "L’art américain au musée, nouvelles installations et enjeux contemporains internationaux".

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