Who Will Replace Henri Loyrette as Head of the Louvre?

Henri Loyrette recently announced that he will not seek reappointment when his fourth term as head of the Louvre ends in April. After 12 years of loyal service, marked by the extension of the Louvre brand (the completed Louvre-Lens and the soon-to-begin-construction Louvre-Abu Dhabi), the reorganization of the Islamic arts department (with a brand new pavilion), and the museum’s new openness to contemporary art, the 60-year-old curator has decided to move on to other things.

So the question on everyone’s lips in the museum world is: who will replace him? A curator with specialized knowledge, as Loyrette would like? An administrator-manager capable of handling the cultural juggernaut that the Louvre has become? A French-speaking foreigner, in order to consolidate the museum’s international presence?

The guessing game has begun. The Art Media Agency suggests two internal candidates: Vincent Pomarède, head of the paintings department; or Jean-Luc Martinez, head of Greek antiquities, both of whom were very involved in the Louvre-Lens project. At Connaissance des Arts, Guy Boyer adds a few names to the list: Michel Hilaire of the Musée Fabre in Montpellier; Sylvain Amic of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen; and Laurent Le Bon of the Centre Pompidou Metz. He also doesn’t rule out foreigners such as Neil MacGregor of the British Museum, Colin Bailey of the Frick, or Gary Tinterow of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, all of whom have experience with major fundraising for their institutions. With increasing budgetary restrictions, as well as the need to rethink the museum’s entrance in order to accommodate the growing number of visitors (there are twice as many as when Loyrette first became director), money will be very welcome.

La Tribune de l’Arts Didier Rykner points out that “some people think that the position is so complicated that it will be almost impossible to find a French curator who is up to the challenge,” while suggesting that a curator/administrator would be the best alternative. As for ARTINFO France, we’d be glad to see Nathalie Bondil, who has transformed Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts, return to France to take the job. A half-French, half-Canadian woman under 50 at the head of the Louvre — just a little utopia we’d like to believe in.

— Céline Piettre, ARTINFO France

This story also appears on ARTINFO France.

(Photo via Louvre/Facebook.)