Le Petit Dessein: Le Louvre S'ouvre Au Neuvième Art ['Modest Plans: The Louvre Opens Up to the Ninth Art']

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Musée du Louvre, Paris, Le Petit dessein: Le Louvre s'ouvre au neuvième art ['Modest Plans: The Louvre Opens up to the Ninth Art'], 22 January to 13 April 2009.

There should be benefits for all sides when the world's best-known art museum mounts an exhibition of original comics art. As Fabrice Douar, director of the Louvre's publishing unit, indicated to reporters, each can place the other in a new light: 'Just as comics are not only fun or for entertainment, the Louvre equally is not dusty and boring'.

Unfortunately, Le Petit dessein: Le Louvre s'ouvre au neuvième art did little to enhance the reputation of comics nor to dispel the dusty perception of France's most important national museum. Held, quite literally, in a dark corner in the basement, the exhibition featured the work of only five cartoonists. In so doing, it came across as what it most assuredly was: an effort to promote the books published by the Louvre in conjunction with French comics publisher Futuropolis since 2005.

Since October 2005, the Louvre has released a small trickle of comic books whose actions unfold at the museum. It was a selection of pages from these works that were presented in a single dimly-lit room. Only three of the books had been published by the time of the exhibition.

The first, Période glaciaire by Nicolas de Crécy (translated by NBM in 2007 as Glacial Period), is the most visually striking. It was represented by a small number of original painted pages that ably displayed the artist's mastery. De Crécy's originals are quite small but almost immaculate, betraying absolutely no hesitancy on the artist's part. …