Ambitious Director Revives the Louvre

Henri Loyrette has global ambitions that grate traditionalists
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2008 10:04 AM CDT
French Architect Jean Nouvel, foreground, and Louvre museum President Henri Loyrette pose in front of a model of the Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum at a cultural exhibition in the United Arab Emirates.   (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, pool)
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(Newser) – France's publicly funded museums once eschewed the big-money efforts that are common in American art institutions. Not anymore. BusinessWeek profiles Henri Loyrette, the ambitious director of the Louvre in Paris, who has coaxed major corporations to pony up cash, rented out its galleries for the filming of The Da Vinci Code, and reaped millions for the museum with touring exhibitions.

Loyrette has scored one of the biggest marketing coups ever in the art world: a museum in Abu Dhabi will pay $630 million just for the right to use the Louvre's name. They'll get art loans, too, but that'll cost more. Loyrette wants the Louvre to compete with museums such as the Met in New York or the Art Institute of Chicago, but not all Parisians are delighted at his shake-up; one art historian called his efforts "scandalous."