Jean-Jacques Aillagon staying put at Versailles

Jean-Jacques Aillagon

Contrary to recent French press reports that former minister Xavier Darcos was set to be appointed director of the Palace of Versailles, current incumbent Jean-Jacques Aillagon has been awarded a new three-year contract to remain in the post. Aillagon reportedly “did himself justice” and “put up a good fight” in his interviews, say sources at the French culture ministry. He told French newspaper Le Monde earlier this year that “the quality of my achievements and my collaborating partners’ confidence fully justify [reappointment]”, citing 2009 visitor figures of 5.4 million at the chateau. Aillagon, a former culture minister, has initiated a high-profile contemporary art programme at the 17th-century site that launched in 2008 with a show by US artist Jeff Koons, leading to accusations of conflict of interest (The Art Newspaper, April 2010, p65). Aged 63, Aillagon will need to seek special dispensation to continue working after the age of 65 when French civil servants are obliged to retire.

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