First acquisition committee for the Louvre-Abou Dhabi

25/5/09 – Musuem – Louvre-Abou Dhabi – An acquisition committee for the Louvre-Abou Dhabi has been set up and met for the first time on 21 April. The names of some its members will sadden more than one reader, as among the eight French [1] (the other four are from the Emirate) one finds Pierre Rosenberg who spent his life fighting for art works to further enrich French museums. We knew he was in favor of the Louvre-Abou Dhabi project, but never imagined that he would actively join in acquiring works for this museum.

The committee ruled retroactively on the nineteen acquisitions already made by the France-Museums agency. The first took place at the time of the Saint Laurent-Bergé auction as stated by us here on this site (see news item of 3/4/09). The conflicts of interest between French museums and the Louvre-Abou Dhabi have already sprung up, going beyond what we had pointed out in our previous article. Even Henri Loyrette admitted during this meeting that there had been some “blunders”. This is not bound to improve as the acquisition procedure states that only the Direction des Musées de France and the large departments (that is only national museums) should be consulted about three weeks before the planned acquisitions (a deadline which was not respected for the first purchases). Needless to say, if the big Parisian museums are not interested (or, more likely, do not have the needed funds), the regional ones have no chance of being heard.

In any case, clearly, the acquisition commission will act simply, in the case of auctions, as an observer as meetings are planned only every two or three months (the upcoming ones will be on 23 June and 17 November).

Today, 25 May 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy has inaugurated the military base in Abou Dhabi. He will place tomorrow the first stone of the Louvre satellite. Only the most naïve will be surprised by this association of genres. At that time, the first works acquired for the Emirate by France-Museums will be presented to the public. We will of course discuss it here.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 25 mai 2009


[1] The other French members, besides Pierre Rosenberg, are : Henri Loyrette (president of the Louvre and of the scientific committee of France-Museums) ; François Baratte, professor or archeology and art history of late antiquity at Paris IV Sorbonne ; Gilles Venstein, professor at the Collège de France ; Marie-Claude Beaud, director of the Nouveau Musée National in Monaco ; Peter Furhing, scientific adviser at the Custodia Foundation ; Jean-François Jarrige, former director of the Musée Guimet.

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