Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Quelle horreur!

Picture: Paris Breakfasts
The Art Tribune reports that the Louvre plans to move its excellent bookshop upstairs, presumably to make room for more profitable tourist tat.  The Louvre has tried to re-assure them (link in French), but I share their scepticism.  It's a great shame.  On my recent visit I was really struck by the excellence of the bookshop, which had lots of recent books that I hadn't come across. 
My memory may deceive me, but I recall the  National Gallery shop in the days of yore having a similarly strong offering.  It's still one of the best in London, but it's not equal to the Louvre; a lot of tired stock that's been on the shelves for years, and inconsistent stocking of new books (although it seems to have improved recently).  They even had this nonsense book featured on a display table for a while.  The shop that impresses me most is the Wallace Collection.  Despite its modest size, it has an outstanding stock of hard-to-find books related to its collection, it's one of the few places to stock foreign-language books and it sometimes offers good discounts.  It complements the museum, maintaining its tone and providing a great resource for visitors.  Changing the focus of the Louvre shop to souvenirs cheapens the institution, gives less opportunity for visitors to learn more about the collection by finding related literature, and cuts off a key showcase for harder-to-find art books.

1 comment:

  1. We are obviously all getting old. I remember when the V&A bookshop was a bookshop !