France

News
Museums

Plans for world's biggest Picasso museum in south of France scuppered

Aix-en-Provence city council says that sale fell through after negotiations with artist’s stepdaughter broke down

News
Openings

Pack your goggles! France to open three underwater sculpture parks this autumn

Visitors will need to swim to see new exhibits submerged off the coast of Corsica, Marseille and Cannes

News
Heritage

Vandals smash statue of Mary Magdalene in French chapel—apparently because she is naked

A note was left at the scene by the perpetrators saying they “did not accept” that the saint should be “represented in such a way”

News

French photographers demand President Macron puts his arts pandemic plan into practice

Signatories say that a ‘new deal’ is needed in France, enabling photojournalists to document the epidemic

News
Disasters & destruction

Security questions remain after Nantes cathedral blaze: 'There's no European country where church fires are this common'

An arson investigation has been launched into the fire at the Gothic St Peter and St Paul Cathedral in western France

News
Restitution

France takes first legal step towards restitutions to Benin and Senegal as cabinet examines new law

Twenty-six objects looted from Abomey Palace to return to Benin, Omar Tall’s sword to be transferred to Senegal

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Notre Dame's spire to be rebuilt the way it was—but use of lead likely to spark new controversy

French President Macron makes u-turn after first suggesting the 19th-century spire, which was destroyed in the fire last year, should be replaced by a contemporary design

News
Museums

Musée Rodin in Paris casts new bronzes to offset losses from Covid-19 crisis

With an estimated shortfall of €4.4m in revenue, the museum is looking to "increase the offer and opportunities for sales to new markets"

News
France

Roselyne Bachelot is France’s new culture minister

The former health and ecology minister shares a passion for opera with newly appointed Prime Minister Jean Castex

Interview
Appointments & departures

'The show must go on': new Rencontres d’Arles director promises 'less is more' approach after pandemic scuppers this year's edition

Head-hunted from Paris Photo, Christoph Wiesner will begin role as Luma Foundation officially opens its headquarters in the French city

News
Art market

American collector to sue France over restitution of $1.7m Pissarro painting

Real estate developer Bruce Toll claims compensation after French High court confirms return of Pissarro's Pea Harvest to heirs of collector Simon Bauer

News
Antiquities & Archaeology

Paris dealer who sold golden sarcophagus to New York’s Metropolitan Museum charged with fraud and money laundering

The work was returned to Egypt last year after officials were shown evidence it might have been looted during the Arab Spring in 2011

News
Antiquities

Former Louvre curator among five arrested in Paris in antiquities trafficking investigation

Case involves "hundreds of objects worth millions" looted from the Near and Middle East

News
Monuments

Artist of African descent must create France's new slavery memorial, campaign group says

Culture ministry launches open call for monument that will be sited near the Musée du Louvre

News
Museums

French museums reveal plans to re-open in June and July

Louvre is "is working towards a planned reopening on 6 July" with strict rules for social distancing and 70% of the museum open to the public

News
coronavirus

Five European museum directors explain their reopening strategies

From capped visitor numbers to surgical gloves and temperature checks, here's how cultural institutions are getting ready to leave lockdown

News
Art market

Strong sales as France restarts live auctions

Artcurial, the first auction house to reopen, doubled its sale estimate as lockdown seems to have "sharpened" buyers' appetite

News
Biennials & festivals

‘In two and a half years, who knows where the world will be’—Lyon Biennale curators reveal why exhibition was pushed back from 2021 to 2022

Pressure on resources play a part as well as ethical issues in the wake of coronavirus

News
France

Amidst fierce criticism, Emmanuel Macron announces plans to help France's culture sector during the pandemic

French president says artists will be invited into schools and asked to create new commissions, but many art professionals say it is not enough

News
Controversies

Director of France’s national furniture collection defends plans to sell 100 items at auction to aid healthcare workers

Move prompts fears that works from national museum collections could be sold off too

News
Museums & Heritage

Lockdown drives digital boom at French museums—but where's the business model?

Podcasts, social media channels and virtual exhibitions are experiencing unprecedented traffic but do not make up for lost revenue

News
coronavirus

French galleries and 'small museums' to reopen in stages from 11 May

Larger museums are unlikely to be accessible until June

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Germany offers help in restoring Notre Dame's stained-glass windows

German cathedral glass workshops have the expertise and experience necessary to undertake the restoration

Feature
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Anniversary of Notre-Dame fire: it's safe, but big decisions need to be taken as Covid-19 halts restoration

Rebuilding the roof will be among the main challenges, and the reconstruction of the spire will be among the most controversial

News
France

French organisations create artists' funds and support for summer festivals

The culture ministry and southwest region provides grants for projects, while Paris-based collector Antoine de Galbert appeals to private donors through his foundation

News
Art market

One third of French galleries could shut before end of 2020 due to coronavirus impact

Survey issued by the Comité professionnel des galeries d'art reveals the economic damage already done, with members estimating a total loss of €184m for this quarter

News
Auctions

Charity auction raises more than €2m for French healthcare workers

Paris-based auction house Piasa hosted online sale of 370 works donated by artists, designers and galleries

News
Art market

La Biennale Paris relies on government funding bailout to support dealers during coronavirus crisis

Exhibitors at the art and antiques fair in September will not have to pay the usual advance deposit and allowed to spread out payment over four months

News
coronavirus

Patrick Devedjian—French politician and driving force behind new museum dedicated to the Sun King—has died of coronavirus

Devedjian was leading plans for a museum project in Saint-Cloud, west of Paris, about the reign of Louis XIV

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Thieves arrested for stealing stones from Notre Dame in Paris

Drunk perpetrators may have wanted to sell the items on the black market

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Notre Dame reconstruction halted because of stringent coronavirus measures

Plans to remove the scaffolding around the fire-damaged cathedral have been put on hold

News
coronavirus

France’s culture minister tests positive for Covid-19

Franck Riester was due to meet with representatives from the country’s arts and culture spaces about the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, but is now resting at home

News
Musee d'Orsay

Anonymous €20m donation kickstarts Musée d’Orsay transformation

Radical revelopment of former train station building will make way for more Impressionist works and visitors

News
Virtual Reality

Google unlocks prehistoric art of France’s Chauvet cave

One of the world's oldest rock art sites is now accessible through virtual reality

News
Art market

Old Master scandal: Italy rejects European arrest warrant for painter connected to forgery case

Lino Frongia was arrested in September as part of a major investigation involving works purportedly by Lucas Cranach, Frans Hals, Parmigianino, Gentileschi and Bronzino

News
coronavirus

Coronavirus: Louvre closes while Italian museums reopen following government green light

Italian officials say cultural institutions can open to the public so long as they ensure “visitors respect a distance of at least a metre between each other”

News
Law

France reconfirms that women baring their breasts in public is illegal—even for artists and protestors

Two women who are part of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen were charged for topless protests, one of which was in a Paris museum

News
Claude Monet

Monet for nothing: Musée Marmottan’s ‘self-portrait’ is downgraded

After a long-running debate, the picture, going on show at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam today, has been attributed to Charles Giron

News
Controversies

Embroiled in Palestine row, artist Zineb Sedira says she will not stand down as France’s representative at 2021 Venice Biennale

Pro-Israel arts group protested to French culture ministry about her appointment

News
Musée du Domaine Royal de Marly

Decadence of Sun King’s pleasure palace revealed at reopened museum near Versailles

Musée du Domaine Royal de Marly is dedicated to the château where Louis XIV partied with his favoured courtiers

News
Venice Biennale 2021

Zineb Sedira to represent France at 2021 Venice Biennale

The artist is the first of Algerian descent to be selected by France for the international exhibition, according to Le Monde

News
Forgeries

Alleged Bronzino seized from the Alana Collection in connection with ongoing Old Master scandal

French customs officials have barred the return of Saint Cosmos to the US following its inclusion in a show at the Jacquemart André Museum in Paris

News
Museums & Heritage

Five years after Charlie Hebdo attack, France plans centre dedicated to satirical cartoons

In honour of the victims and to promote the medium, the French culture ministry will create "a meeting, training and exhibition place"

News
Palais de Tokyo

Artists criticise Palais de Tokyo partnership with Qatari museum over LGBTQ rights

Mathaf's guest show at Paris contemporary art centre marks Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture

News
Photography

Double exposure: new Paris venue to unveil two historic photography collections

Exhibition space will show and sell digital reproductions of images from the archives of the Roger-Viollet agency and France-Soir newspaper

News
Restitution

France promises to return 26 looted Benin artefacts by 2021 and opens talks on 'wider set of works'

But full restitution depends on changes to French law and the construction of new Benin museum

News
Openings

Revamped, renamed, reopened: Musée Ingres Bourdelle honours Montauban's masters

After €13m expansion, French museum brings together works by painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and sculptor Emile-Antoine Bourdelle

News
Musee du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac

Quai Branly to send fragment of feather belt worn by first King of Tahiti back to Polynesia

Rediscovered maro 'ura will go on show at Museum of Tahiti and the Islands on long-term loan from 2021

News
Museums

Strikes hit France: here are the museums that are affected

Several institutions have closed, others have cut back their opening times as protests against Macron's retirement reforms sweep the country

News
Art market

Rare Tahitian painting by Gauguin sells for €9.5m at Artcurial in Paris

Te Bourao II, which went to an international collector, was on loan to the Met in New York for ten years

News
Exhibitions

Russia, Germany and France join forces for 'incomparable' travelling show of contemporary European art

Exhibition showing "unique slice" of art from Europe will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

The French general’s advice to Notre Dame's chief architect: ‘Just shut up!’

A public spat between officials erupted this week in Paris over the reconstruction of the fire-ravaged cathedral and whether its historic spire should be restored as it was or a new spire built in its place

News
Sculpture

Antony Gormley in talks with French government over sculpture project in Brittany

Brexit is a disaster for the UK, says the sculptor as he unveils his Field for the British Isles installation at Firstsite gallery in Colchester

Comment
Savoy/Sarr Report

One year after the Sarr-Savoy report, France has lost its momentum in the restitution debate

It recommended the restitution of African artefacts in French museums, but the country has not returned a single item to Africa

News
Art crime

Painter linked to Old Master forgery case appeals arrest warrant

Italian court postpones decision over Lino Frongia's arrest and transfer to France until February

News
Leonardo da Vinci

Green light for Leonardo's Vitruvian Man to go to Louvre

An Italian appellate court has overturned the ban on the loan of the celebrated drawing

News
Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou to expand and move collections to new satellite venue in southern Paris

The “art factory” will be a conservation, exhibition and storage space and is expected to open in 2025

News
Musée du Louvre

Louvre defends planned switch to timed-entry tickets after Mona Lisa 'pandemonium'

Reservations will become mandatory at the world's most visited museum by the end of the year

News
Photography

Test shot: Lille’s new photography institute prepares for 2021 launch

The new Institut pour la Photographie is backed by the annual photography festival Rencontres d’Arles

News
Obituaries

Jacques Chirac, former French president, dies, aged 86

The politician, who also served as prime minister and Paris mayor, championed the founding of the Musée du Quai Branly

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

It's official: French tycoons finalise €300m donations for fire-ravaged Notre Dame

Foundation secures funds from Bernard Arnault and François Pinault towards the reconstruction of the cathedral

News
Cultural exchange

Louvre secures key Italian loans for Leonardo retrospective

The Vitruvian Man—normally only shown for a few weeks every six years—will travel from Venice’s Gallerie dell'Accademia to Paris

News
Art market

Pre-Columbian auction in Paris goes ahead in face of protest from Guatemala and Mexico

Although one Mayan relief was withdrawn, the Mexican government condemned the "illegal" sale but auctioneer Millon defends it as "perfectly legitimate"

News
Jeff Koons

Installation of Jeff Koons's controversial Bouquet of Tulips begins in Paris

The sculpture will now go on show near the Champs-Elysées, after previous location near the Palais de Tokyo was strongly opposed

News
Conservation

Isenheim altarpiece restorers invite visitors in

Laser imaging comes to aid of restoration of 16th-century paintings and sculptures

Review
Book Shorts

The travel books of Eugène Delacroix have now been translated into English

These notebooks reveal how the artist discovered the "real" Orient in North Africa and southern Spain and adjusted his paintings accordingly

Analysis
Cathedral of Notre Dame

New law regarding Notre Dame says restoration must preserve its 'historic, artistic and architectural interest'

But attempts in the senate to ensure it will look as before the fire were dropped from the final version

News
Appointments & departures

Emma Lavigne lined up as new president of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris

Director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz would be first woman to hold the position

Archive
Museums & Heritage

A missing chapter in the history of the decorative arts: the Restoration and July Monarchy

Louvre-organised show at the Grand Palais of neglected period of production

News
Restitution

France retreats from report recommending automatic restitutions of looted African artefacts

Suggestions from controversial Savoy-Sarr report were all-but buried at a conference held in Paris

News
Museums & Heritage

Three become one: Montpellier Contemporain unites art school with exhibition venues

The newly created institution will involve all 200 students of the Montpellier School of Fine Arts

News
Openings

Bordeaux gets €60m Meca for creative industries

Bjarke Ingels-designed culture hub will be the new home of the Frac regional contemporary art centre

News
Prizes

Franco-British charity Fluxus Art Projects flies flag for joint culture projects pre Brexit

Artists Lubaina Himid and Tarek Atoui receive funding awards

News
Museums & Heritage

Former Louvre director donates his collection to forthcoming museum devoted to the 'Sun King'

Pierre Rosenberg has pledged his collection of works by Charles Le Brun and other artists to the new museum

News
Monuments

Designs for new D-Day monument in Normandy will go on sale at Masterpiece

David Williams-Ellis' sculpture for the British Normandy Memorial will be unveiled today by May and Macron

News
Art market

More grief for Aristophil investors as French government seizes hundreds of documents

Around 18,000 people invested in the now bankrupted company's manuscripts collection, but state says many items of historical importance should never have been sold

News

Louvre is 'suffocating' with high volume of visitors, striking workers say

Paris museum closed its doors after union officials protest about angry public and poor security measures

Podcast

The Notre Dame fire: what happens next? Plus, Cold War Steve

We talk about the effects of the fire at Notre Dame, the building’s history, and what happens next. And we speak to satirical artist Christopher Spencer, the man behind Cold War Steve. Produced in association with Bonhams, auctioneers since 1793.

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Artist Wim Delvoye enters design competition to reconstruct Notre Dame

The Belgian, known for his sculptures in a Northern European Gothic style, is already devising a new spire

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Precious works rescued from Notre Dame to be transferred to the Louvre

Crown of Thorns and St Louis tunic are among the artefacts to have been saved, while paintings inside the cathedral will be removed and restored

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Trump’s tweets on Notre Dame blaze fall foul of French fire officials

US President proposed water bombing the cathedral but this risks weakening the structure, say experts

Analysis
From the archive

Church and State disagree over management of religious heritage in France

The country possesses more than 32,000 churches, 6,000 chapels and 87 cathedrals. Their dual administration has caused serious problems of management and conservation

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Notre Dame will be rebuilt, President Macron confirms

As the extent of the damage continues to be assessed, investigation into cause of devastating fire begins

News
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Notre Dame benefits from the battle of the billionaires

Competitive philanthropy can help save France’s flagship cathedral

News
Museums & Heritage

Fire destroys roof of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris

The spire has collapsed on the medieval landmark

News
Protest

Petition launched to remove 'racist' anti-slavery fresco in France's National Assembly

Artist Hervé Di Rosa describes the demand as "censorship"

News
Obituaries

French sculptor Claude Lalanne has died, aged 93

Her imaginative works inspired by flora and fauna sometimes carried a Surrealist touch

Review
Book Shorts

William-Adolphe Bougeureau: tasteless, sentimental, soft-porny, but French above all

Book looks at the former official darling of the American republic

News
Art market

Historic Bernheim-Jeune and Fine Art Society galleries shut up shop

A sign of the times, two of London and Paris’s oldest firms closed their premises in the traditional art heartlands of the cities

News
Technology

Paris digital art venue Atelier des Lumières is a hit, and expanding abroad

French museums operator Culturespaces has launched a space in South Korea and is planning another in Bordeaux in 2020

News
Conservation & Preservation

American donations shore up conservation efforts in France

From Paris to Chartres, US philanthropy makes its mark

News
Caravaggio

French state rejects painting with controversial Caravaggio attribution that was found in an attic

Now the export ban has been lifted, the work may go on the market after restoration

News
Controversies

'Too conservative' to direct France's arts academy? Jean de Loisy hits back at critics

A petition protesting his appointment at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts has been signed by 60 arts professionals

News
Politics

Museums and auction houses close as 'yellow vest' protests rage in Paris

Jeu de Paume photography gallery and Arc de Triomphe caught up in violent demonstrations

Review
Books

Philippe Costamagna’s combination of autobiography, anecdote and single discovery told in his own words

The memoirs of the Pontormo expert and director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Ajaccio

News
Cultural policy

'Give Africa its art back', Macron's report says

A new report on the status of African objects in French museums will urge the president to return works taken “without consent” in the colonial period

News
Renaissance

Isenheim Altarpiece restoration finally back on track after public outcry

More than 30 conservators will treat paintings and sculptures, seven years after French culture ministry halted reckless cleaning of two panels

News
Donations

Major coup for Paris’s Institut du Monde Arabe as it receives one of its biggest ever donations of works

Gallerist Claude Lemand and his wife France also set up a fund to support the museum

News
Politics

Emmanuel Macron woos French art world with call for new cultural policy that fights extremism

France's president also plans to install Modern and contemporary works at the Élysée Palace