The New York Times remembers Françoise Cachin, the founding director of the Musée d’Orsay who eventually became a critic of the Louvre’s expansion into the Gulf States. She died last week:
When the Musée d’Orsay opened in 1986, Ms. Cachin — who in the meantime had mounted exhibitions on Pissarro and Manet at the Pompidou — was placed in charge as its director. During the next eight years she organized important shows on van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat and other artists before being appointed the director of French museums.
The post, within the ministry of culture, gave her oversight of France’s 34 national museums and more than 1,000 city and local museums, right down to the boat museum in Douarnenez, Brittany.
An unbending traditionalist, Ms. Cachin helped formulate the law, passed in January 2002, that now governs most French museums. It defines them as providers of a public service with the obligation to make their collections available to as wide an audience as possible and regard their collections as a public possession, not for sale.
She also emerged as a leader of the opposition to the Louvre’s plan to rent its name, artworks and expertise for a new Louvre to be built in a multibillion-dollar tourist and cultural development in Abu Dhabi. In return, the Paris Louvre would receive more than $1 billion.
Françoise Cachin, A Director of French Museums, Dies at 74 (New York Times)