Arguably the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre, is an iconic hub of works from the Mona Lisa to the Venus de Milo. And this week, the 228-year-old organization made an iconic move by naming its first woman president, Laurence des Cars, who will step into the position in September 2021.
Des Cars was appointed as the Louvre’s president-director on May 26, 2021, by President Emmanuel Macron, a moment that she describes as quite emotional, according to the NYTimes. Also in the interview, the president-to-be of the most visited museum in the world (having had 10.9 million visitors in 2018 alone), shared her plans and hopes for what is to come.
Des Cars is not new to this, bringing experience from heading both the Musee d’Orsay (2017) and Musée de l’Orangerie (2014), as well as the scientific director of the development of Louvre Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. The director has been praised for exhibition collaborations globally, namely with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in “Black Models: From Géricault to Matisse,” highlighting Black French art.
There is hope that she will continue to highlight works of people from various cultural identities and also acknowledge the rise of activism against stolen works. Many activists globally, like Congolese Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza, are demanding that museums return artifacts and stolen works to their country of origin.
For now, the president-to-be is proud to be a part of the changing museum landscape, especially when it comes to the changes in leadership amongst women. Laurence des Cars told the NYTimes, “things are really changing for women in the museum world. Of the 70 curators in the Louvre, more than half of them are women. More women are heading museums, especially in Europe. And younger women are much more confident these days.”
After the pandemic, Laurence des Cars hopes to once again attract young people to the Louvre where they can enjoy extended hours. “Young active people can come for one hour after work, have dinner at the Louvre, have the pleasure of getting lost in the Louvre,” she told the NY Times.
The director also expressed that she hopes for continued fearless connectivity, “what I fear most is that there will be a temptation for people to close in on themselves, that people will be so insecure they will be afraid of the outside. I want to open the windows and open the doors and make connections so that people will see there is a whole wild world to discover,” Des Cars explained in the interview.
We know for a fact that women are incredible leaders, and there are high hopes for what Laurence des Cars will accomplish within this new role. If you’re interested in purchasing tickets for an exhibit at the Louvre you can do so here.