She will be the first woman to become the head of the world’s largest museum. The president of the Orsay Museum, Laurence des Cars, has been chosen to replace Jean-Luc Martinez of 1eh September at the helm of the Louvre, which he has run since 2013, the Elysée announced on Wednesday 26 May, confirming information from France Inter. Mjo des Cars, 54, was also the first woman to run the Orsay Museum, where she made her debut.
Daughter of the journalist and writer Jean des Cars, granddaughter of the novelist Guy des Cars, this 19th century art specialist.i century and early twentiethi century wants to be a director of his time, mobilizing for a wider access of young people to the museum, for the restitution of works looted by the Nazis or for exhibitions related to current debates.
He was behind the exhibition-event “The Black Model” in 2019 at the Musée d’Orsay, which was so successful that he decided to expand the spaces.
After studying art history at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre, she joined the Ecole Nationale du Patrimoine and took up her first position as curator at the Musée d’Orsay. 1994, where he remained until 2007.
It was during this period that he curated several exhibitions in collaboration with international museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Royal Academy of Art in London and the Thyssen Museum in Madrid.
She was appointed scientific director of France-Muséums in July 2007, a French operator responsible for the development of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and was promoted to the body of general heritage curators in 2011.
Her career took a new turn when she was appointed director of the Musée de l’Orangerie in 2014, then in 2017 of the Musée d’Orsay.
“Orsay wide open”, expanding the museum
Under his tenure, the number of visitors to Orsay, one of the largest museums in Europe during the period from 1848 to 1914, has grown steadily: to 3,700,000 visitors in 2019, with a level of self-financing reaching 64%.
In the midst of a pandemic, the director embarks on “Orsay de bat a bat”, a project that will expand the museum, thanks in particular to a donation of 20 million euros from an American patron who has kept anonymous.
Objective: more exhibition spaces, a 650 m educational center2 and a research center open to the international, which will open in 2024, a dimension estimated by the historian. He practices many loans in the region. “In 2019 we saw more than 600 works that we keep, from Ornans to Giverny”said in 2020 at the Figaro.
During an interview with Agence France-Presse in April, he spoke about his vision of a museum whose programming would be anchored. “within the great challenges of society, attracting new generations”. “In a world that can argue, reject the museum”wants to address “Visitors of all ages and socio-cultural backgrounds”.
Under his leadership, the Ministry of Culture initiated the procedure for the restitution of Gustav Klimt’s painting, Roses under the treespreserved in the Orsay Museum, to the heirs of Nora Stiasny who was robbed by the Nazis in Vienna in August 1938. “A great museum has to look at history from the front, including looking back at the very history of our institutions”he commented.
No third term for Jean-Luc Martinez
Jean-Luc Martinez, 57, a historian and archaeologist specializing in Greek antiquities, was seeking a third term in the Louvre and has been working for the public establishment since April 13.
Very sensitive to access to the Louvre for all audiences, fighting elitism, he reorganized and equipped the museum to make it more welcoming. During his tenure, the number of visitors exceeded 10 million in 2019, ahead of the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.
The final choice of the appointment of the presidents of the great public museums, like the Louvre, Versailles, Pompidou or Orsay, corresponds to the president of the Republic.