Laurence des Cars Becomes the First Woman to Lead the Louvre in 228 years!
Emmanuel Macron appointed Laurence des Cars, the art historian, as the head of the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre. Des Cars, the current president of the Musée d’Orsay and L’Orangerie in Paris, both of which she has run since 2017, will take over the prestigious post of Louvre in September.
“She will create a dialogue between ancient art and the modern world one of her priorities, with the constant concern of reaching the greatest number [of people],” the French cultural ministry said in its release. “She will place [her] experience, particularly proven during the crisis, at the center of the politics of the establishment.”
Des Cars, 54, said her heart was “beating very strongly” when the culture minister, Roselyne Bachelot, rang her to break the news. “It was a joyful and emotional moment. I will never forget that call,” she told France Inter.
For the first time in its 228-year history, the Louvre will be directed by a woman.
Des Cars’ appointment to head a French museum is significant in many ways. Most major French museums have rarely had female leaders. When des Cars became president of the Orsay in 2017, she was the second woman to assume the role. The Palais de Tokyo hired its first woman at the helm in 2019 with Emma Lavigne. The Centre Pompidou has only ever had one female president, Hélène Ahrweiler, who led the museum from 1989 to 1991.
About 67% of France’s national museums are headed by women, according to the culture ministry, a rise of 27% from 2019. In March, Catherine Chevillot, the director at the Rodin Museum in Paris, was named president of the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, the biggest architectural museum in the world; the Élysée museum has been run by Tatyana Franck since 2014; and Sophie Makariou is president of the Musée Guimet, the national museum for Asian arts.
Des Cars, a specialist in 19th and early 20th-century art, is looking forward to her new role. She is eager to take over and give the classic Louvre a modern touch.
Featured image: ALAIN JOCARD / AFP/ PAUDAL