Bernard Notari dismissed at Fontainebleau to make room for Jean-François Hébert

13/7/09 – Upcoming appointment – Fontainebleau, Etablissement public du château de Fontainebleau – Some remember how the chief curator for the Musée de Fontainebleau, Amaury Lefébure, had been removed from office in order to appoint Bernard Notari, former adviser to the then Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres. Although we had denounced this appointment at that time (see news item of 31/8/06 in French), since an administrator should not replace a curator at the head of a museum, we must admit that on several matters, Notari had made some improvements by reopening new rooms (a gallery devoted to furniture was inaugurated on July 1st), by making important acquisitions thanks to patronage (see news item of 30/3/09) and above all, by replacing the Chief architect for historical monuments, Jacques Moulin (see article of 11/1/09), and naming Patrick Ponsot, one of the most cautious and most respected ACMH (Architecte en chef des monuments historiques) of national patrimony [1].

We now learn that Bernard Notari will, in turn, be dismissed to make room for Christine Albanel’s cabinet director, Jean-François Hébert as head of the newly created Etablissement public du domaine de Fontainebleau.
If this information is confirmed, this is once again proof that management of big museums is now entrusted to political friends looking for a job. Our intention is not to cast any doubt on Jean-François Hébert but simply to observe that it seems that ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration) graduates seem to have a better chance than others at working in a museum. Furthermore, we would like to point out that the decree creating the Etablissement public du château de Fontainebleau dates from 13 March 2009 and that it will have taken almost five months at least to appoint its president. In a similar case, for example the Etablissement public du musée du Quai Branly created on 23 December 1998, the president had been appointed only a few days later, on 30 December 1998. It is hard to ignore the possibility that the changes planned in the government administration had slowed the appointment process and that the position was being saved : if Christine Albanel had remained as minister, it is not likely that Jean-François Hébert would have needed to find a new position. Alas, there is the distinct possibility that the Villa Medicis, turned down by the former minister will also be included in this game of musical chairs…

Didier Rykner, lundi 13 juillet 2009


[1] Unfortunately, however, no doubt due to his strong personality, Bernard Notari did not choose to have a real director for the collections, an acknowledged authority in his field and in charge of scholarly projects. The new president will have to do so, now a requirement as outlined by the status of an Etablissement public.

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