French art historians oppose the Tuileries reconstruction project

2/2/09 – Heritage – Paris – The Comité Français d’Histoire de l’Art voted unanimously against the project for the reconstruction of the Tuileries during its General Assembly held on 17 January 2009. The motion adopted by the Assembly was as follows :

“The members of the Comité Français d’Histoire de l’Art, representing the community of French art historians, having convened for their annual general assembly on 17 January 2009, examined the reconstruction project for the château des Tuileries. After a debate, they unanimously adopted the following motion :

° The Committee points out that it is impossible to attempt to restitute the château des Tuileries to its state at the moment of the fire of 1871. The Flore and Marsan pavilions, at each end of the château, have been in fact entirely reconstructed since then, and according to completely different drawings and plans from its state under the Second Empire for the second. Furthermore, in order to link them again to the central structure, the lateral façades would have to be eliminated, themselves now listed as historical monuments.

° The Committee then underscores the fact that it would be absurd to insert a copy, approximate by nature, on a palatial ensemble, that of the Louvre, which benefits from the very rare historical privilege of an assembly of elements corresponding to different periods but which are all original and authentic, from the Lescot façade to the Peï Pyramid.

° The Committee is amazed that such a project does not take into account the lapse of time and its consequences. More than one hundred twenty-five years have passed since the government of the Third Republic decided to do away with the ruins of the château. The immense open space created by this decision is now part of the Parisian landscape. It has influenced 20th century urban planning in a decisive way, notably in the development of the main perspective, which now goes from the Peï Pyramid to the Arche de la Défense. This is an essential component of the capital’s heritage, appreciated by the public and universally acknowledged.

° Finally, the Committee regrets, at a time when so many famous historical monuments, still standing today, require urgent intervention that such a plan, implying the irresponsible misappropriation of talent, time and financial means towards such a debatable project, might be put forward. The claim that it could be carried out without public financing is false. However, the underlying objectives of possible private investors in such a location at the heart of the capital, is clear to everyone.

For these reasons, the Comité Français d’Histoire de l’Art proclaims its complete and unanimous opposition to the project for the reconstruction of the château des Tuileries.”

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 2 février 2009

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