By Annick Dournes & Frédéric de Poligny
From 1st to 15th December the Louvre and Christie’s in collaboration with the French auction house Drouot organise an exceptional auction. The quality and rarity of the lots put up for sale make this auction a unique event in the exclusive world of the French museum. A unique opportunity to acquire unique “objects”.
Like the vast majority of museums worldwide the Louvre is undergoing huge income losses due to lockdown obligations. By mid-September after the first quarantine that had led to a dramatic drop in occupancy (-75% compared to 2019) the Louvre had lost 59 million of revenue. In order to be able to finance its community and educational projects the funds raised through this auction will entirely be used for this purpose.
Bidders will not only be able to purchase unique works of art, they will also bid for inaccessible experiences especially created for the occasion. For the first time in its long history the Louvre puts up for sale 24 extraordinary lots. Renowned contemporary artists such as Pierre Soulages, Johan Creten, Eva Jospin, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Xavier Veilhan or Candida Höfer… have offered one of their creations to be sold during the auction.
Among the unique and spectacular experiences on sale you will be able to bid for a visit of the Louvre’s roofs guided by artist “JR” enjoying unique views of Paris by night. One other bid will allow you to see, together with Jean-Luc Martinez Chairman and CEO of the museum, the examination of the Mona Lisa that is taken out of its glass-case only once a year on this occasion. You can also get a dinner for two on top of the Arc du Carroussel next to the Louvre with a luxury picnic basket made by Le Meurice Hotel. And why not bid for a night visit of the Louvre by the light of flashlights when the museum is completely empty. You can also bid for a private concert in the Salle des Caryatides or for a journey to the three Louvre museums throughout the world in Paris, Lens or Abu Dhabi. They all are world premieres!
Prestigious brands known for being patrons of the Louvre for many years also play an active role in this amazing auction. Cartier, Christian Dior Couture, Le Meurice, Le Ritz Paris, Louis Vuitton, Moët Hennessy and Vacheron Constantin all have a strong relationship with the museum and have generously participated in this unheard-of event. You can thus bid for one of the famous Panther bracelets by Cartier or a personalized Vuitton suitcase or a private visit of the museum followed by a dinner for two at the 2-star restaurant of Le Meurice luxury hotel concocted by Alain Ducasse.
All the profits from the sale will be used for the community and educational projects of the Louvre. On of these projects in particular is the creation of a vast space called “The Studio”. Built in the heart of the museum it will hopefully open its doors in September 2021. Especially designed to welcome groups of pupils, disabled people and homeless persons, it will be dedicated to cultural and artistic education for those who don’t have an easy access to museum exhibitions.
The description of all the lots will be available from December 1st at 2pm on Christie’s website at: www.christies.com/bidforthelouvre. Auction ends by December 15th.
Text ©Annick Dournes
Photos ©Frederic de Poligny and courtesy of Christies-Drouot