Cy Twombly Foundation pulls lawsuit after Louvre agrees to rework renovation of gallery that bears artist's ceiling

The foundation said earlier this year that the “aggressive colours“ covering the walls “violated the harmonies“ of Twombly’s pale blue canopy

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The newly repainted Salle des Bronzes at the Louvre in Paris in March 2021 Image: Dmitry Kostyukov/The New York Times) / Redux / eyevine

The newly repainted Salle des Bronzes at the Louvre in Paris in March 2021 Image: Dmitry Kostyukov/The New York Times) / Redux / eyevine

The Louvre has reached an agreement with the Cy Twombly Foundation on the renovation of the gallery that bears a ceiling painted by the US artist in 2010.

Last February, the American foundation complained it had not been consulted on the museum’s changes to the Salle des Bronzes. The foundation said it was shocked by the “aggressive colours“ that covered the walls, which “violated the harmonies“ of Twombly’s pale blue canopy and “destroyed the balance of his sensitive and memorable installation.”

The latest agreement will now allow Twombly’s work to be presented in "an harmonious and consistent context“, the museum said in a statement. Both parties have agreed to a change of colours for the wall. The deep red will “be repainted in lighter tones, as well as the wood panels and the frames of the display cases". The foundation says it is "grateful that the Louvre and the French state has agreed to honour the spirit and character of the artist’s project”, indicating that both parties have "already agreed on the specific choice of colours for the changes".

The foundation and the artist’s son, Alessandro Twombly, have now withdrawn their lawsuit.

The gallery was named the Salle des Bronzes because it held the museum's collection of Greek and Roman bronzes. The rooms now display the Louvre’s Etruscan collection, the most important in the world outside of Italy.

Last year, the Louvre maintained that it had no intention to change the restoration of the gallery and that there was no way the artist’s rights on the ceiling—which remained unchanged in the restoration—could be extended to the entire gallery space.

News of the disagreement broke in the media at the worst possible moment for Jean-Luc Martinez, who was seeking to renew his mandate as the head of the museum at the time.

On 1 September, Laurence des Cars, the former director of the Musée d'Orsay, replaced Martinez. Asked about the additional cost and duration of the works, a spokesperson from the museum said it was “too soon to know“.

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