Behind the scenes, a restoration in progress: Louis Béroud's Au Salon Carré du Louvre (1883)

23 February 2005 - 14 May 2005

Pavillon du musée Fabre, Montpellier

While the Musée Fabre undergoes comprehensive renovation and rebuilding work another, less public project is also underway in the museum's workshops, namely the restoration of the entire collection. Now, for the first time, this work will be visible to the public, from 24 February to 15 May 2005, at the Pavillon du Musée Fabre. A team of specialists will be working to complete the restoration of Louis Béroud's painting Au Salon Carré du Louvre .

Acquired by the French state at the Salon of 1883, the painting is one of several by Louis Béroud inspired by works in the Louvre. The picture is one of a particularly surprising group of paintings showing characters from some of the Louvre's most celebrated paintings, stepping out of their frames and wandering off through the museum's galleries. Béroud was a regular visitor to the Louvre, and the first person to notice the disappearance of the Mona Lisa after its theft in 1911. Restoration work will continue for several weeks on the immense canvas, measuring over five metres in height. Visitors will be able to discover the hidden side of a painting that transports its viewers back in time, to the Paris of 1883. The centrepiece of the exhibition is the restoration workshop itself. The painting's "log book" relates its lively history and fortunes, through periods of acclaim and neglect, until today's renaissance at the Musée Fabre, where the restored picture will hang on the main staircase.

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