If the spate of high-profile art thefts in France weren’t bad enough, France is getting more bad publicity in the Telegraph. It comes from traditional rivals in the UK like Josephine Oxley, a curator for English Heritage, who doesn’t like to lend works across the Channel:
Mrs Oxley, who is head of visitor relations at Apsley House, the first Duke of Wellington’s home, said she would not be keen to see valuable items exhibited in France. Referring to some of the house’s most precious works of art, she said during a tour of the property last week: “We wouldn’t lend that to the Louvre. We don’t know what state we’d get it back in.” She added: “They’ve got a history of damaging items or putting them in a cupboard and forgetting where they’ve put them.”
The most notorious example of a masterpiece being damaged at the Louvre was in 1992 when the canvas of Marriage at Cana by Veronese was ripped in five places while undergoing restoration. In the past few years, a triptych by Cy Twombly, worth £1.37 million, on show at Avignon’s Museum of Contemporary Art was stained by lipstick when it was kissed by a woman and Craig Kauffman’s “Untitled Wall Relief” was destroyed when it fell from one of the walls in the Pompidou Centre in Paris. More recently, Foucault’s pendulum, created to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth, was damaged in May after a cable snapped sending it crashing to the marble floor at the Museum of the Arts and Invention in Paris.