For the first time since its creation in the wake of the French Revolution, the Musée du Louvre in Paris will be headed by a woman. Laurence des Cars, 54, the current president of the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie, was appointed on Wednesday as the new president-director of the Louvre by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Des Cars started her career as a curator at the Musée d’Orsay in 1994, before taking charge in 2007 of Agence France-Muséums, the French government body responsible for delivering the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The 965 million euro ($1.1 billion) project was hindered by serious delays and growing exasperation from the United Arab Emirates, and when Martinez took the Louvre directorship, he replaced Des Cars with the curator and archaeologist Jean-François Charnier.
Laurence des Cars, who will be the new president-director of the Louvre, is pictured here at an exhibition at Kunsthalle Muenchen in Munich, Germany, in September 2017. Credit: Matthias Balk/picture-alliance/dpa/AP
Des Cars immediately pledged to extend the opening hours of the Louvre, which currently closes its doors at 5:30 p.m., in order to attract younger visitors, a move that Martinez previously told The Art Newspaper he had also planned. According to a statement from the French culture ministry, the new director’s priorities will include fostering a “dialogue between ancient art and the contemporary world” and broadening the museum’s audiences with particular attention to young people. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Louvre depended on international tourists who, according to a museum press release, accounted for around 75% of visitors in 2019.
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