Louis-Antoine Prat, the chair of the Mates of the Louvre since 2016, has introduced he is not going to search re-election. In a letter to the council of the membership group, he expressed his want to guard the organisation from the “false accusation of antisemitism” in one in every of his publications.
Prat was going through rising stress to face down. Final week, the Salon du Dessin made him persona non grata for its subsequent version on the Palais de la Bourse in March. In a press release, the organisers of the distinguished drawings honest expressed their “disapproval of the degrading depiction of sure characters in a brief story” written by Prat, printed in September by Editions El Viso.
In keeping with the occasion’s president, Louis de Bayser, “the Salon du Dessin is recognised and appreciated for its heat and pleasant environment of mutual respect and impeccable skilled requirements. We’re due to this fact justifiably offended by the detestable description of sure characters on this story which unfolds within the aisles of our Salon”. Sources near the honest say that distinguished American curators and patrons had threatened to boycott the Salon if Prat was invited to its gala opening.
Prat’s quick story makes an unflattering comparability between a drawings collector with a “pure coronary heart” and an artwork vendor named Nicky Schwarz who’s “motivated by greed”. The latter is characterised by his poor private hygiene, “repulsive” look and manipulative behaviour with collectors and journalists.
The story additionally incorporates passages which have been interpreted as homophobic and misogynistic. One character, who was groped by Schwarz on the Salon du Dessin’s opening occasion, is described as an “effeminate younger man” and others as ignorant “single girls, cursed by age”.
The guide features a disclaimer that any similarity between a piece of fiction and actual folks is only coincidental. However particulars of the fictional Nicky Schwarz’s clothes and printed catalogues have led artwork specialists to attract comparisons with the main Previous Grasp drawings specialist and vendor, Nicolas Schwed.
“It is extremely simple for anybody within the subject to determine Nicolas Schwed on this story,” says George Goldner, the previous head of the drawings departments of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork. The journalist Carole Blumenfeld says that Prat himself confided to her privately that the character of Nicky Schwarz was certainly Schwed.
The language utilized in Prat’s story “is borrowed from the previous antisemitic custom” of French literature, commented the collector and patron Pierre Morin. “Perhaps the writer will not be even conscious of it,” he added. The Parisian artwork vendor Hubert Duchemin condemned the guide’s “freely slanderous and nauseating” passages.
“This vocabulary is unquestionably a part of the language defining hatred of the Jews for the reason that nineteenth century,” says the director of the Jewish historical past museum in Paris, Paul Salmona, mentioning that “the selection of a Jewish German title like Schwartz to depict such a vile character actually has antisemitic overtones”.
Prat’s perceived assault on Schwed is “completely inappropriate”, Goldner says. “The writer, with whom I’ve no private points, has crossed the bounds of decency. He also needs to bear in mind that he has a duty to protect the popularity of the Louvre and its Mates.”
In his letter to the Mates of the Louvre, Prat stated he was the sufferer of “a disgusting assault”, calling the accusation of antisemitism “an entire lie”. Prat didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The previous Louvre director Pierre Rosenberg, who oversaw a 1995 exhibition of Prat’s assortment on the museum, has come to his defence, saying, “I can testify he isn’t an antisemite.” Prat’s writer, Nicolas Neumann, additionally claimed he “didn’t see an oz. of antisemitism in his textual content”.
The controversy prompted the artwork historians Arnauld Brejon, Jean-Christophe Baudequin and Alexandre Gady, the director of the Musée du Grand Siècle, to withdraw their contributions from a forthcoming guide of tributes to Prat.
Others together with Catherine Goguel, who for many years was a specialist on Italian drawings on the Louvre, joined a refrain of voices calling on the Louvre’s present director, Laurence des Automobiles, to drive Prat to resign.
Des Automobiles replied that she couldn’t intervene in issues of the unbiased affiliation. However a spokesperson stated Des Automobiles “disapproved of Prat’s outpouring of every kind” and “was all the time saddened by something affecting the popularity of the Louvre”.