Appointments Museums France

New director for Louvre

Jean-Luc Martinez, head of the Louvre’s Greco-Roman antiquities department, takes France’s most prestigious museum post

Jean-Luc Martinez, 49, faces a number of challenges, not least steering the Louvre through France's new austerity measures. Photo: © Musée du Louvre 2013/Antoine Mongodin

The French president, François Hollande, has appointed Jean-Luc Martinez as the new director-president of the Louvre in Paris. After weeks of speculation, the most prestigious post in the French museum sector went to an internal candidate: Martinez has been head of the museum’s Greco-Roman antiquities department since 2007. He takes over as director on 15 April, succeeding Henri Loyrette.

Martinez, 49, faces a number of challenges, not least steering the institution through new austerity measures. The French government’s plan to cut the culture budget by 7.5%, or €190m, over the next three years (The Art Newspaper, February 2013) means that all cultural institutions, even the Louvre, will feel the squeeze.

Loyrette, the outgoing director, set the bar high with a €150m satellite museum in Lens unveiled in December last year, as well as a new Islamic wing at the Louvre, which opened last September. A record 9.7 million people visited the Paris museum in 2012.

Since Loyrette was appointed in 2001, he made no secret of his enthusiasm for raising private funds, pushing for closer ties with American institutions and aiming to increase sponsorship revenue.

His most ambitious project, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is due to be completed in 2015. The lucrative outpost will provide the museum with brand-name rights worth €400m from the emirate over the next 30 years. A press statement on Martinez’s appointment states that his “ongoing projects” include “finalising the loans [for the Louvre Abu Dhabi] in 2013”.

Other priorities include expanding the reception area to cope with the increased number of visitors arriving under I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid, refurbishing the Etruscan and Roman galleries and teaming up with international institutions; in a significant move, the Louvre has entered into a partnership with Istanbul’s Archaeology Museums focusing on training and joint publications.

Two other candidates were reportedly in the running for the directorship: Sylvie Ramond, the director of the Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon, and Laurent Le Bon, the director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz.

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