Françoise Cachin

Françoise Cachin (8 May 1936, Paris – 4 February 2011, Paris) was a French art historian and curator. She was the founding director of the Musée d’Orsay and the author of numerous books on 19th-century French painting.

Françoise Cachin
Francoise Cachin 1996.jpg
Françoise Cachin in 1996
Born8 May 1936
Paris, France
Died4 February 2011(2011-02-04) (aged 74)
Paris, France
OccupationArt historian


Françoise Cachin was born to the pediatrician Charles Cachin and his wife Ginette (née Signac).[1] Her grandparents included the communist politician Marcel Cachin and the pointillist painters Paul Signac and Jeanne Selmersheim-Desgrange.[2]

Cachin studied art history under André Chastel at the Institut d'Art et d'Archéologie of the University of Paris.[2] After training at the Louvre and the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, she worked as a curator at the Musée National d'Art Moderne from 1969 to 1978, eventually becoming chief curator.[2] In this capacity she organized numerous exhibitions, including an important Paul Klee retrospective, and oversaw the museum's move from the Palais de Tokyo to the new Centre Georges Pompidou.[2]

In 1978 Cachin joined the planning team for the new Musée d'Orsay.[1] During this time she continued to organize exhibitions, including a major Manet retrospective in 1983.[1] When the Musée d'Orsay opened in 1986 she was named director, and in this role organized retrospectives of Gauguin (1989) and Seurat (1991).[1]

In 1994 Cachin left the head of the Musée d'Orsay and assumed the post of Director of French Museums, which carried the responsibility for over 1,000 museums across France.[2] Despite this, she still found time to compile a catalogue raisonné of works by her grandfather Paul Signac, which was published in 2000.[2]

Cachin retired from her directorial position in 2001 but remained active in the museum world. She helped found the French Regional & American Museums Exchange (FRAME),[1] and (unsuccessfully) lead opposition to the Louvre's plan to construct the Louvre Abu Dhabi.[2] In 2009 she was named a Grand Officier of the Ordre national du Mérite.[3]

Cachin died on 4 February 2011 of amyloidosis, aged 74.[2] She was at work editing the journals of Paul Signac.[4]

Selected worksEdit

  • Cachin, Françoise; Moffett, Charles S.; Wilson-Bareau, Juliet (1983). Manet, 1832 - 1883: Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris April 22 - August 8, 1983; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York September 10 - November 27, 1983. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0870993497.
  • Gauguin : « Ce malgré moi de sauvage », collection « Découvertes Gallimard » (nº 49), série Arts. Éditions Gallimard, 1989, new edition in 2017[5]
    • UK edition – Gauguin: The Quest for Paradise, 'New Horizons' series. Thames & Hudson, 1992
    • US edition – Gauguin: The Quest for Paradise, "Abrams Discoveries" series. Harry N. Abrams, 1992
  • Seurat : Le rêve de l'art-science, collection « Découvertes Gallimard » (nº 108), série Arts. Éditions Gallimard, 1991
  • Manet : « J'ai fait ce que j'ai vu », collection « Découvertes Gallimard » (nº 203), série Arts. Éditions Gallimard, 1994, new edition in 2011[6]
    • UK edition – Manet: Painter of Modern Life, 'New Horizons' series. Thames & Hudson, 1995
    • US edition – Manet: The Influence of the Modern, "Abrams Discoveries" series. Harry N. Abrams, 1995


  1. ^ a b c d e Cogeval, Guy. "Homage to Françoise Cachin." Musée d'Orsay. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Grimes, William. "Françoise Cachin, a Director of French Museums, Dies at 74." The New York Times. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  3. ^ Decree
  4. ^ "Obituaries: Françoise Cachin." The Telegraph. 20 Feb 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Gauguin : " Ce malgré moi de sauvage ", collection Découvertes Gallimard (n° 49)". Éditions Gallimard. Retrieved 14 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Manet : " J'ai fait ce que j'ai vu ", collection Découvertes Gallimard (n° 203)". Éditions Gallimard. Retrieved 14 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Further readingEdit

  • Paul Josefowitz: Personality of the year: Françoise Cachin, Directeur des musées de France. Apollo Nr. 140, pp. 14–17, London, December 1994.
  • Denis Picard: "Une directrice pour les Musées de France". Connaissance des Arts. Nr. 583, May 2001, p. 39.
  • Henri Loyrette: Mélanges en hommage à Françoise Cachin. Réunion des Musées Nationaux and Gallimard, Paris 2002, ISBN 2-07-076158-4.