Béatrix Saule likely replacement for Pierre Arizzoli-Clémentel as director of Versailles

26/7/09 – Appointment – Versailles, Domaine national du Château et des Trianons – As Pierre Arizzoli-Clémentel, directeur général de l’Etablissement public du musée et du domaine national de Versailles, is retiring the Minister of Culture and Communication has appointed Béatrix Saule, conservateur général du patrimoine, the director of the research center, to replace him in the interim. On his blog, the president of the Etablissement public, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, explains that he will suggest to the Minister that Béatrix Saule become directeur du musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, permanently.

The specific title has not been chosen at random. The statutes of Versailles are indeed going to be modified and there might be reason to worry. It is extremely important that the curator who is appointed as director wield actual power and that he or she indeed be at least the real number two person at this public establishment. We expressed our concerns a few months ago about this change of status to Jean-Jacques Aillagon. He personally reassured us that this would in no way alter any of the prerogatives for the director and his missions, and that it was simply a matter of adapting the title to the reality of the position. Let us remember that in the current statutes it is defined as follows :

“[The director] is to assist the president in his duties and, in this role, can be delegated by him to direct the establishment services. He is to direct the scientific department of conservation […]. He is responsible for the conservation, protection, management, enhancement and presentation to the public of the collections listed in the inventories of the musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, and its annexes, as well as the scientific study of said collections and of the architecture of the buildings and gardens [of the domain]. He is to suggest the exhibition and cultural events program of the museum. As delegated by the president, he will have authority over the personnel assigned to work in the museum.”

Let us also point out that “in matters pertaining to his field”, the administrateur general will be placed under the authority [of the director]. Finally, the latter is to preside over the conseil scientifique of the establishment.

We can only hope therefore that the missions entrusted to the new director will not be less extensive, although it is surprising to note that the future title only contains the word “museum” and that the term of “domaine national” is now excluded. When Béatrix Saule’s appointment becomes official, we will discuss it here more fully.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 26 juillet 2009

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