Laurence des Cars Is the New Director of Paris’s Musée d’Orsay

She is the second woman curator to head a major Paris museum.

Laurence des Cars. Photo ©Sophie Boegly.

Laurence des Cars, current director of the Musée de l’Orangerie, has been named new director of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

According to Le Monde, Des Cars was officially appointed after a meeting with the French President, François Hollande, on February 27, during which she presented her project. She will take up the post on March 15, for a tenure of at least five years.

Des Cars—daughter of journalist and writer Jean des Cars and granddaughter of novelist Guy des Cars—was born in 1966 in Antony. She studied art history at the University of Paris IV and at the École du Louvre, before joining the National Institute of Cultural Heritage.

Her appointment is a homecoming of sorts: when she first graduated in 1994 she joined the Musée d’Orsay as curator, where she remained until 2007. During her initial tenure at the museum, she became a specialist in art from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and bolstered the institution’s relationship with foreign institutions, securing many important loans.

From 2007 to 2014, des Cars’s talent for fostering international cultural relations took her to the helm of France-Muséums, the agency in charge of the design and development of collections and future programs of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, slated to open this year. In 2014 she was appointed director of the Musée de l’Orangerie.

Des Cars’s appointment comes after a lengthy process, which saw three other candidates reaching the final selection stages: Dominique de Font-Réaulx, director of Paris’ Delacroix Museum; Michel Draguet, director of the Royal Museums of Belgium; and Sylvain Amic, director of the Musée de Rouen.

Le Monde reports that des Cars’s appointment is also significant in that she’s only the second woman curator to head a major Paris museum, alongside Sophie Makariou at the Musée Guimet.

Des Cars is expected to bring calm back to the galleries and offices at the Musée d’Orsay, after the controversial tenure of Guy Cogeval, whose capabilities were questioned by museum employees after he suffered a stroke in 2014, according to Artforum.

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