New directors for French museums : recent appointments

18/2/11 – Appointments – French Museums – A graduate of the Ecole du Louvre then, in 2000, of the Institut National du Patrimoine, Sophie Harant (ill. 1) was appointed head of the Musée Bonnat in Bayonne on 2 August 2010. Her museum career began in Quimper where she was deputy director for one year. She then acted as curator at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nancy until last year. Besides organizing several exhibitions devoted to drawings and old master paintings, as well as 19th century art, including the recent Beautés monstres (curiosités, prodigies et phénomènes) (see article in French), Sophie Harant has also contributed articles to many scholarly journals. She is specialized in drawings.
Expectations are high after her appointment as director of the museum in Bayonne. The Musée Bonnat holds one of the richest art collections in the French provinces but has not really known how to enhance its old masters and 19th century paintings in the past few years, since many of them have been unavailable to viewing by the public.

After being appointed to the Département du patrimoine and the collections for the Public establishment of Sèvres-Cité for ceramics in March 2010, Eric Moinet was replaced as head of the Musée Lorrain in Nancy by Francine Rose (ill. 2). She had been curator since 1972 at this historic museum in Lorraine, in charge of the collections of history, art and ethnography, then of historical documentation. A specialist in Lorraine history and art, she was curator for several exhibitions including De l’arbre à la mémoire. L’âge d’or du mobilier lorrain, René Ier d’Anjou et la Lorraine, Duchesses de Lorraine. Collections du Musée Lorrain.

Isabelle Dubois-Brinkmann (ill. 3), who was a curator at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, in charge of old master paintings and sculptures, has now taken over since June 2010 as director of the Musées de l’Impression sur étoffes in Mulhouse and for the Musée du Papier peint in Rixheim, thus filling the two positions vacated by the retirement of Bernard and Jacqueline Jacqué.
A graduate of the Ecole du Louvre, she holds a doctorate in art history from the Université Marc Bloch in Strasbourg, as well as a degree from the INP in 2004. Isabelle Dubois-Brinkmann organized several exhibitions in Lyon, notably on Jacques Stella, with Sylvain Laveissière and Axel Hémery (see article in French) as well as the one highlighting The Flight into Egypt by Poussin, along with the accompanying colloquium (see articles).

Several curators have also been appointed in Parisian museums. The Musée Galliéra (not strictly in the field covered by The Art Tribune) has a new director, Olivier Saillard, while Gérard Audinet (ill. 4) who was previously (since 1989) curator at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, has been appointed to head the Maison de Victor Hugo. He organized several exhibitions including the retrospective, Francis Picabia. Singulier Idéal.
A specialist of 20th century art, his policy at the Maison de Victor Hugo will seeks to enhance the writer’s influence on contemporary art. This is a legitimate goal as long as it does not overlook the fact that this is, above all, a museum devoted to the 19th century…

After graduating from the Institut National du Patrimoine in 1999, Amélie Simier (ill. 5) was chief curator for the sculpture collections at the Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris for eleven years. She was appointed in early 2011 to head the Bourdelle and Zadkine museums which were joined together in a move which is probably an indication of their future status in Paris. Amélie Simier was curator of several exhibitions, notably Jean Carriès, la matière de l’étrange (see article) and Paris 1900 dans les collections du Petit Palais.
We sincerely hope this appointment will help the Musée Bourdelle to once again pursue its original vocation. Over the past few years, the establishment had overlooked its own collections while focusing on exhibitions which were not always directly related to its holdings.

Due to Guillaume Ambroise’s departure for the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux (see news item of 8/12/09), Jean-Pierre Mélot (ill. 6) has been appointed as the new director of the Musées de la ville de Pau.
After earning his doctorate in contemporary art history, he took over as director of the Maison de Pierre Loti in 1995 and also deputy curator of the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Rochefort. In 2002, he was appointed deputy curator of the Musée Malraux in Le Havre where he organized the exhibitions Vagues ; De Courbet à Matisse, la donation Senn-Foulds and Sur les quais. Ports, docks et dockers de Boudin à Marquet (see article).

Didier Rykner et Caroline Guibert, vendredi 18 février 2011

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