Michel Laclotte

Michel Laclotte

Michel Laclotte, Director of the Musée du Louvre from 1987 to 1995, also served as Chief Curator in the museums Department of Paintings beginning in 1966. He specializes in French and Italian painting of the 14th and 15th centuries. Laclotte served as the Editorial Director for Abbevilles masterwork, The Art and Spirit of Paris.

A Key to the Louvre

Memoirs of a Curator

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An art world insider provides a witty and penetrating account of fifty years at the center of international culture.

Art historian, curator, and museum director Michel Laclotte has been at the forefront of French cultural life over the past half century. This informal autobiography sheds light on his brilliant career with warmth and directness. Highlights include twenty years as chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Musée du Louvre, heading the team that created the Musée d'Orsay, and taking the reins of the Louvre to lead the effort that culminated in the museum's transformation into the “Grand Louvre,” one of the world's preeminent cultural attractions.

Raising the curtain on fifty years of Western art scholarship, intrigue, and achievement, Laclotte introduces an extraordinary cast of characters who set France's cultural direction in the postwar period from Charles de Gaulle and André Malraux in the 1950s to François Mitterand in the 1980s and 1990s. His story overlaps with virtually every major scholarly figure in French art history of the last half-century, as well as Laclotte's mentors and colleagues throughout and beyond Europe, from Roberto Longhi and Anthony Blunt to Sir John Pope-Hennessy and Millard Meiss.

An incomparable testament to a period of seismic change in the museum world, this volume will be essential reading for art world afficianados and all students of art and modern culture.

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Treasures of the Louvre

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This large-format edition of Abbeville's popular Tiny FolioTM highlights masterpieces as chosen by the director of the world's most famous museum.

Two hundred years ago, the doors of the Louvre opened to the public for the very first time. The palace of the French kings had been transformed into a museum that today stretches over an enormous architectural ensemble right in the heart of Paris.

The royal collections first assembled by Francis I in the sixteenth century were later transferred to the Louvre palace, and this prestigious core was further enriched with artistic treasures during the Revolutionary period. The collections have been growing ever since, and are today divided into seven departments. Oriental Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, and Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities illustrate the art and culture of the ancient Near and Middle East and the Mediterranean countries. The other four so-called "modern" departments--painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and drawing-span Western art from the height of the Middle Ages to the mid-nineteenth century.

With superb reproductions of nearly 400 of the museum's most renowned masterpieces, this glorious volume provides a grand tour of the Louvre's unparalleled collection, and highlights the extraordinary range of artistic traditions that have gradually found their place in this museum.

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The Art and Spirit of Paris

(two volumes, slipcased)

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A dazzling successor to Abbeville's The Art of Florence, this two-volume tour de force sweeps through the entire history of the arts in Paris, from the Stone Age to the pyramid at the Louvre.

All the arts—painting, sculpture, architecture, urban design, interior design, graphic design, photography, film, fashion, the theater, and opera—have played a role in creating the enduring spirit of Paris. From a primitive village huddled on an island in the middle of the Seine, Paris rose to glory as a medieval and Renaissance center for art, as the cradle of the Enlightenment, and as the crucible of modern art and architecture. It remains a world center of innovation in art, architecture, and design, and one of the most thoroughly pleasurable of all modern cities.

Assembled under the editorial direction of Michel Laclotte, former director of the Musée du Louvre, and with the participation of outstanding scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, The Art and Spirit of Paris spans more than 6,000 years of cultural history. In two volumes, comprising nine insightful and wide-ranging chapters, and with approximately 1,500 illustrations, the authors chronicle the history of the visual arts in Paris, tracing their evolution and that of the social systems that supported them.

Volume I introduces the Gallo-Roman settlement described by Caesar and unearthed by modern archeologists, literally the foundation of modern Paris. From these beginnings, chapter 2 takes the reader through the dark period of the early Middle Ages, when Paris was ravaged by Norsemen, through the long process of rebuilding that led to the flowering of the Gothic and the remarkable masterworks of architecture and stained glass, Notre-Dame-de-Paris and the Sainte-Chapelle. The Renaissance city and the center of the Enlightenment are the subjects of chapters 3 and 4, illustrated by the masterpieces of painting and the decorative arts that established Paris, by the eighteenth century, as the Western world's center of the arts.

Volume II begins at 1800, as Napoleon consolidates his power and resolves to make Paris the most beautiful city the world has seen. Chapter 5 treats his brief era, which would echo in the French imagination for decades after, and which begins the reign of Paris as "Capital of the Nineteenth Century." The battles of classicism and romanticism and the advent of a modern "engineer's architecture" of glass and iron are followed in chapter 6 by the glorious Ville Lumière of Second Empire Paris, with its remarkable world's fairs. It treats as well the aftermath of the Commune, when a "New Painting" would be invented by the most beloved artists of the French tradition, including Manet, Renoir, Monet, and Cézanne. Chapter 7 brings us to fin de siècle Paris, the Belle Epoque, and the run-up to World War I, when a remarkable coterie of artists, including Picasso, invent an art for the new century. Chapter 8 examines the period between the wars, an era of refinement and consolidation in the arts, and chapter 9 brings the story of Paris up to the present, examining the remarkable ways Paris has yet again remade herself, as a city of spectacle and guardian of her remarkable past, while remaining a vital center of fashion, theater, and the visual arts.

A lavish selection of photographs, most reproduced in color, complements the lively, informative texts with a revealing mixture of much-loved masterpieces and little-known discoveries. Completing these luxurious volumes are nine photographic portfolios, featuring classic black-and-white pictures, reproduced in duotone, by such masters as Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, and André Kertesz, which capture the spirit of Paris in visual essays on such subjects as the Seine, Paris by night, shops and cafés, and the city's streets and boulevards.

About the authors: Michel Laclotte, former chief curator of paintings and retired president-director, Musée du Louvre, Paris; Venceslas Kruta, professor, Sorbonne; Alain Erlande-Brandenburg, former director, Musée de Cluny and Archives Nationales; Claude Mignot, professor, Université de Tours; John Goodman, independent scholar, New York; Christopher Lyon, executive editor, Abbeville Press; Michael Marrinan, professor, Stanford University; Gary Tinterow, curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Andrew Carrington Shelton, assistant professor, Department of History of Art, Ohio State University; Jeffrey Weiss, curator, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Malcolm Gee, professor, University of Northumbria, Newcastle, England; Françoise Levaillant, director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.

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