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Thursday, 06 August 2015 11:29

The Louvre Updates Its French Painting Galleries

The Musée du Louvre in Paris is in the midst of updating its French painting galleries in the Sully wing, part of an ongoing effort under Jean-Luc Martinez, named the museum’s director in 2013, to focus on the permanent displays. “We need to breathe new life into the museum to make its fabulous collection come alive…. I want to give the museum a complete makeover,” Martinez told The Art Newspaper in a 2014 interview.

The 19th-century French painting galleries, which have be rehung, reopened August 5.

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It’s official: the Louvre Abu Dhabi will open at the end of 2016, a full year later than previously announced and a decade after the contract was signed for the €1bn project on Saadiyat Island. The delay was confirmed on Tuesday, June 16, during a press briefing at the Louvre by the museum’s president, Jean-Luc Martinez.

The Gulf outpost had stalled for almost six years before the project was rescued by Martinez.

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Thursday, 18 December 2014 11:03

Jean-Luc Martinez’s Louvre Makeover is Underway

The storybook rise of Jean-Luc Martinez begins where he grew up, in a Paris suburb dominated by blocky public housing. It ends deep within the opulent palace of the Louvre museum, where he is plotting what he calls a “petite révolution.”

Mr. Martinez, 50, son of a postman and the Louvre’s president since April 2013, is moving quickly to make a democratic mark on the royal stronghold that has the most visitors of any museum in the world, 70 percent of them foreign tourists.

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In choosing Jean-Luc Martinez to succeed Henri Loyrette as the head of the Musée du Louvre in April 2013, president François Hollande opted for a consensus choice as well as a break with tradition. Martinez could be considered the antithesis of his imperious predecessor, who reigned over the Louvre for 12 years and whose ambition led to a period of frenetic expansion in France and elsewhere. Loyrette decided not to seek a new term for the job when he understood that this period was about to end, and government subsidies would be cut by around 11%.

Martinez, who had the support of the museum’s staff, was born into a modest suburban family on the outskirts of Paris in 1964.

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These days, success for museums often means expansion—whether it is with new buildings or international satellites. The Louvre’s new director, Jean-Luc Martinez, has another idea. Having taken over the museum in April 2013, he wants to refocus on the core of the institution: its collections and permanent displays. And to do so, he’s ready to launch a behemoth refurbishing initiative, which in his own admission could “take decades.”

After 12 years characterized by the aggressive development policy of Martinez’ predecessor Henri Loyrette—who oversaw the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s €1 billion deal—the new director’s position feels particularly radical.

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Wednesday, 03 April 2013 18:18

Louvre Names New Director

The Louvre has been on the hunt for a director since the current chief, Henry Loyrette, announced his resignation in December 2012. Today, April 3, 2013, French President Francois Hollande announced his decision to appoint Jean-Luc Martinez, a French specialist in Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, as the museum’s new director.

Martinez, who has worked with the Louvre since 2007, is currently helming the restoration of the museum’s famed sculpture Winged Victory of Samothrace. He has participated in a number of other projects at the museum including the creation of the Louvre’s outpost in the French city of Lens as well as the museum’s expansion in Abu Dhabi.

Martinez, 49, has signed on for a three-year term and will take over operations in mid-April. Loyrette, who has been the Louvre’s director for 12 years, leaves behind a lasting legacy. During his time at the museum Loyrette nearly doubled the Louvre’s annual attendance. By the end of 2012, approximately 10 million people were visiting the museum each year, making it the busiest museum in the world. Loyrette also implemented the museum’s contemporary art program, employed a policy that relied on crowed-sourced fundraising, and launched a number of successful public campaigns.

The search for a new chief was extensive; for the first time in the museum’s 220-year history the Louvre considered hiring non-French candidates for the role of director.

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