On 11 March 2022, the École du Louvre unveiled an ambitious architectural project in the presence of Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, France’s minister for culture, and H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Hanover. This project is the brainchild of Claire Barbillon, director of the École du Louvre, and has been made possible by the exceptional patronage of Majid Boustany, president of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation. This patronage represents the greatest support ever received by a teaching institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture.
This architectural project of about 1300m2, entitled “ÉCOLE DU LOUVRE 2021-2022”, includes the redevelopment and refurbishment of the library and its documentation and IT services, and of the cafeteria, and the creation of a research centre.
Majid Boustany first formed a partnership with the École du Louvre in 2016, with the creation of a grant for research on the artist Francis Bacon. He then undertook to make the School an annual gift of books on Bacon to enrich its library collection. He has now chosen to continue his philanthropic initiative by funding this ambitious programme of works which will become a key, strategic asset for the École du Louvre and for its future national and international profile and influence. In addition to this exceptional sponsorship, Majid Boustany has also gifted to the School two sculptures by the British artist Antony Gormley, positioned in the library, an easel from Francis Bacon’s Paris studio, placed in the library lobby, and a photograph of Bacon in his London studio taken by Jesse A. Fernández in 1977, on display at the entrance to the research centre.
The decision to fund this ambitious programme stems too from Majid Boustany’s passion for that most Francophile of British artists: Francis Bacon. He lived and worked in Paris and was a regular visitor to the Paris museums, and the Louvre in particular. Indeed, some of his own paintings were inspired by works in the Louvre. The Slaves by Michelangelo, works by Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Chardin, Goya, Ingres and Delacroix, all in the Louvre’s collection, were major artistic sources for Bacon and had a considerable influence on his painting practice. This direct encounter with works of art — which is a fundamental principle of studying history of art at the École du Louvre — was at the heart of his working practice.