The Louvre Has Been Sued for Making Changes to a Gallery With a Cy Twombly Ceiling

Cy Twombly’s ceiling at the Salle des Bronzes on on March 23rd, 2010. FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP via Getty Images

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Louvre Museum in Paris took advantage of the fact that their doors would be closed to patrons for a long time and went ahead with certain renovations. In the abstract, there’s nothing wrong with this move. Unfortunately, however, the Cy Twombly Foundation came forward in February to complain that renovations that had been made to the Salle des Bronzes wing in the museum had violated the integrity of the ceiling, which was completed in 2010 by the artist Cy Twombly. Now, according to new reports, the Twombly Foundation has officially filed a lawsuit against the Louvre that demands the renovation be reversed.

Twombly’s abstract blue ceiling mural, which features influences from Greek and Roman antiquity and includes floating discs bearing the names of Hellenic sculptors, was previously framed in the gallery by walls painted a neutral color. Now, post-renovation, the walls beneath the ceiling are painted a deep, burnished brown-red color, and the doorways into the room are black. Additionally, what were previously limestone floors have now been converted into parquet wooden floors.

While it may initially seem as though the Twombly Foundation is overreacting, when you look at the photographs of the new gallery that have been provided by the New York Times, you can clearly see why the deceased artist’s representatives are so incensed: in the updated space, Twombly’s creation clashes horribly with the rest of the room.

While the Louvre’s president, Jean-Luc Martinez, contended that since the room itself was not part of the Twombly artwork, the museum had every right to change it, representatives for the artist vehemently disagree. “It’s offensive,” David Baum, a lawyer working on behalf of the Twombly Foundation, said in a statement to the Times. “Why wouldn’t you at least tell us? For this to come via text message with a picture where everything is done. We hit the roof.” The Louvre Has Been Sued for Making Changes to a Gallery With a Cy Twombly Ceiling