News Register for our weekly news digest here.

Christophe Leribault. Photo: Pierre Antoine.
Christophe Leribault. Photo: Pierre Antoine.

Christophe Leribault Appointed Director of Musée d’Orsay

Christophe Leribault was yesterday announced as the new director of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and of its affiliate, the Musée de l’Orangerie. Leribault, who served as a curator at the Louvre and as director of the Musée Delacroix, Paris, before going on to helm the Petit Palais, Paris, in 2012, will replace Laurence des Cars. Des Cars this month assumes leadership of the Louvre, becoming its first female director.

In his new role, which he will step into on October 5, Leribault will be tasked with overseeing the Musée d’Orsay’s large-scale redevelopment, which is expected to take ten years to complete. The redevelopment program, titled Orsay Grande Ouvert (Orsay Wide Open), calls for the museum’s entire fourth floor to be reconfigured to serve as an education center, and for the establishment of an international education center, to be housed at the nearby 29, quai Voltaire, on the bank of the Seine.

Leribault arrives as the museum, like its counterparts around the world, struggles to attract visitors as the global Covid-19 crisis drags on and on. “It is a period of depleted financial resources, sponsorship is now very difficult to find,” Leribault, said, speaking with French website Le Point. “The museum public has also changed a little. . . . [There are] a lot less foreign tourists, of course, but also more young people who, unable to travel or go out, have rediscovered museums In fact, I believe this is a good time to refocus. Orsay can no longer be a tourist factory. The French, the Parisians in particular, and the public usually inhibited by museums, must be able to reclaim places.”

Noting a “duty to work with regional museums, whatever their size,” Leribault limned a plan for the Musée d’Orsay that includes partnerships with such major institutions as the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou (which itself is to shutter for renovations), and that focuses on exhibitions staged abroad with an eye to the carbon footprint.