AN EXCEPTIONAL PATRONAGE FOR THE ÉCOLE DU LOUVRE
Interview with Majid Boustany
President of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation
What is your connection with the École du Louvre?
In 2016, through my foundation – the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation Monaco – I entered into a partnership with the École du Louvre, under which, every four years, a research scholarship is offered to a postgraduate from the school whose work relates to the painter Francis Bacon or which has a direct link with the artist (a comparative study between Bacon and one or more other artist(s), thematic studies relating to his work or his artistic practice, etc.).
Later, I was invited to give a lecture on ‘Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture’ at the École du Louvre on the occasion of the Bacon exhibition organised by the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco in 2016, under the aegis of my foundation.
These early collaborations with the school gave me the opportunity to discover a unique and fascinating institution, adjoining the greatest museum in the world, close to other major museums, and offering a unique educational model with teachers passionate about their mission.
How did you become the patron of this project?
Through the partnership I had entered into with the École du Louvre, I was introduced to Claire Barbillon who took over as director of the school in 2017. I was immediately impressed by her singular career, her wish to communicate and her ambitions for the future of the school. I had long discussions with her and with her team on various subjects relating to art, the school, her teaching, her plans and her students. When, in 2018, Claire Barbillon told me about her aspiration to launch a major programme of works at the Aile de Flore site at the Palais du Louvre, to include the redevelopment of the library and its documentation services, the refurbishment of the cafeteria, and the creation of a research centre, I was immediately captivated by this visionary project. Soon after, I offered to support the entire project.
I must also admit that my decision to fund this ambitious programme stems too from my passion for Francis Bacon – that most Francophile of British painters. He was a regular visitor to the museums of Paris, and the Musée du Louvre in particular; in fact, some of the works in the Louvre became sources of inspiration for his own work. This British artist, considered a living legend by the French public and the Paris press, had a special affection for Paris, the ‘City of Light’, and was very aware of its cultural influence. He also perceived the French as the ultimate arbiters in virtually every domain that interested him.
What do you hope to see this project achieve?
I hope that this major project will bring this prestigious school an essential strategic asset, enhancing its future national and international influence.