The Focillon Scholarship is threatened

Henri Focillon
Photo : All Rights

28/1/09 – Cultural policy – France – For the last few decades, the Focillon scholarship, bearing the name of the famous art historian Henri Focillon (1881-1943), has enabled French art historians, either university scholars or curators, to travel to the United States and visit its major museums while spending three months at Yale University. The recipient is chosen by the CFHA (Comité Français d’Histoire de l’Art).

The scholarship is funded in part by Yale University ($1,000) but comes essentially from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($6,000). This amount was no doubt too high for this country’s finances as the Ministry has announced it will not renew its grant after 2009. Following the revelations by Le Monde recently (on 24/1/09) of the dramatic cuts in funding affecting French institutes and centres around the world, this is a new blow to French cultural influence abroad. The usefulness of these study periods in the United States, from which many of our country’s museum directors have benefited, goes without saying. They offer valuable training to scholarship recipients as well as establishing lasting bonds between American and French art historians.

The only hope for saving this scholarship is that the Ministry of Culture take over from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the funding of this phenomenal sum !

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Didier Rykner, mercredi 28 janvier 2009

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