FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

November 15, 2015 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on November 15, 2015.

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to:

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at




Fine collections in-need: the musées des Tissus et des Arts décoratifs de Lyon


T he first is a wonderful museum of fabric arts -- at the center of the French silk & textiles industry, home of its first industrial revolution!, berceau of Jacquard's first punch-card & so an ancestor of The Digital, too! -- the second is Lyon's remarkable collection of the arts of French culture -- a petition to sign, and conservation & preservation & even digitization to consider --




*TR: Les musées des Tissus et des Arts décoratifs de Lyon, des collections
exceptionnelles en danger - La Tribune de l'Art'- SIGNER LA PETITION*
Fri, Dec 11, 2015 12:59 PM

À tous les membres de l'association


Dans un esprit de solidarité avec un autre musée lyonnais, nous vous
transmettons cette invitation à signer la pétition.

Bien cordialement

Le Bureau

De : Demoncept Cécile <>
Date : 8 décembre 2015 à 08:44
Objet : Les musées des Tissus et des Arts décoratifs de Lyon, des
collections exceptionnelles en danger - La Tribune de l'Art'- SIGNER LA







"The Musées des Tissus and des Arts Décoratifs of Lyon:
Exceptional Collections In Danger!"

"The threat of closure of the Musées des Tissus et des Arts décoratifs of Lyon is nothing new. We've worried about this for over a year, but all solutions still are under-study, for avoiding what indisputably would constitute a major cultural patrimony disaster. Alas, we see that the indifference of The City and that of the Ministère de la Culture make possible a scenario which for many seems inconceivable. Pierre Arizzoli-Clementel, who was director from 1993 to 1996, declares, 'I cannot speak of a closing because I don't foresee it, it would be impossible. We have here a collection of fabrics from the entire world, and the collection of the Lyonnais Silk Industry is the history of Lyon. This is a unique place.'

"A little history

"In spite of their richness, these two museums, which form a single institution in reality, are not well-known among the general public, and it is essential to know their history to understand how they have arrived at their current situation.

"The origin of the museum goes back to the 19th century. Following the Exposition Universelle of 1851, the Lyonnais Silks remained. It was concluded that a museum was necessary, an idea which dated back to before the Revolution. The museum opened its doors in 1864. The Chamber of Commerce put in place an active acquisitions policy, with experts assigned to hunt for samples. They employed notably Natalis Rondot, a great specialist in applied industrial arts. This ambitious acquisitions policy was sustained by numerous gifts. The fouilles à Antinoë en Égypte were financed by Guimet and the Chamber of Commerce, which obtained exceptional tissus-coptes, including ten complete costumes of dignitaries. Guimet himself donated many works.

"From 1843 on, commercial missions were sent to China. They collected in that country and, understanding their work well, they obtained masterpieces. To these acquisitions were added leading objects from the expositions universelles. So tissus and decorative arts were collected from the beginning, even though the plan, which was very ambitious, was reviewed during the 1870s and reoriented more toward textiles. In 1891 the museum known as the Musée Historique des Tissus et les Collections d'Arts Décoratifs was packed-up or deposited in other museums, notably the Musée des Beaux-Arts. It was not until 1925 that the Musée des Arts Décoratifs was inaugurated and lodged in the Hôtel de Lacroix-Laval, one of the first buildings constructed by Soufflot. The Hôtel de Villeroy, next door, became the Musée des Tissus.

"Unique collections

"If the Lyonnais Silks are the origin of the collection, the museum also conserves 4500 years of textile history, from antiquity to our days, and from all continents but Africa. There are about 2.5 million works, although among these are display cases which hold hundreds of separate pieces. This is one of the most important textile collections in the world, its sole rivals being the Metropolitan Museum the Victoria & Albert, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

"Christine Descatoire, conservatrice en charge de l'orfèvrerie et des tissus occidentaux at the Musée de Cluny explains that she recently has been at the museum for an exposition which she is preparing: 'I wanted to see medieval tissus, notably broderies. There is a considerable collection, which constitutes a reference, and it serves as that in all areas. What I have seen of medieval tissus, just a small part of the collection, is absolutely incredible.' All specialists, french and foreign, whom we have consulted wax similarly-dithyrambic... [wonderfully & untranslatably-put in the French original, JK :-)].

"For Muriel Barbier, conservatrice chargée des collections textiles et mobilier of the Musée National de la Renaissance at Écouen: 'This is an exceptional collection for textile historians, it is the reference collection of France for all periods of study. It covers all geographies and all periods of human history. It is rare and precious.'

"In Switzerland, the directrice of the fondation Abegg, Regula Schorta, confirms: 'It is one of the rare textile museums which cover nearly all fields, themes, regions. Its importance is global. I would like to emphasize as well the very important role the museum plays in the domain of ancient textile restoration, and in its training activities which it extends to foreign visitors.'

"At the LACMA, Sharon S. Takeda says the same: 'The Musée des Tissus is one of the most important in this domain. Its collection of textiles, which is encyclopedic, rivals in quality those of the greatest international museums, while its historical collections on silk and its associated archives for that Lyonnais industry are unique.' She adds: 'Conservators in textile and decorative arts from the entire world use the archives and the library of the Musée des Tissus to research their own collections.'

"At the Victoria & Albert Museum, Lesley Miller is in-unison: 'The Musée des Tissus is one of the most important collections in the world, in both size and quality, as it is in its geographic and chronological coverages as well. It also is unique for its collections on silk and the local industry which had -- and has still -- an international importance. It contributes to research at a global level thanks to its collections, its library, its permanent presence and its exhibitions.'


"The Centre International d'Étude des Tissus Anciens / CIETA

"The Musée des Tissus is more than a museum... It is a center of study, a center of documentation, a center of education, a center of restoration, recognized internationally in an arena in which specialists are rare and in which France figures as a leader: Sophie Makariou, directrice of the Musée Guimet, makes the point -- 'France always has been a leader in textiles. The French created the nomenclature and the vocabulary used internationally. All specialists across the globe use tools created by the CIETA which is intimately tied to the Musée des Tissus. It is a domain of excellence in French research which is much envied. If it closes, the CIETA will leave Lyon for some foreign location: there are a good number of people in London or in Switzerland who would welcome the CIETA there.' -- and Roberta Cortopassi confirms -- 'If the museum closes, the CIETA certainly will be reassembled somewhere outside France. So it is very much an intellectual property and a major center of research which would disappear from Lyon and from France'...


"A transfer to the Louvre would not be possible because it, 'would represent for that establishment a new expense on the order of 1.7 million euros per year (without including future development costs) which does not appear susceptible to financing under current budgetary constraints'. This argument about 'current budgetary constraints' pops up incessantly in the report, demonstrating clearly the current direction of patrimoines concerns, now in the hands of budget authorities with no interests in culture and the protection of cultural patrimony, who are disinterested completely... compare this necessary budget of 1.7 million euros with the budget for the Louvre, 199 million euros in 2015. Less than 1% of that... What lack of ambition, what disinterest in culture and in exceptional collections!"

... :-(

-- so, read the article in-full, in French -- there are passionate people involved, but times-financial are tough -- the article is beautifully-illustrated, and the stunning Musée website will give those who have not seen it some idea of what they have missed, and what we all soon may be missing --

-- so, sign the petition! -- do more! -- this is a thing worth saving!

'Tis the season... Merry Christmas!


Jack Kessler



FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal ISSN 1071-5916
      |         FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic
      |         journal published since 1992 as a small-scale,
      |         personal experiment, in the creation of large-
      |         scale "information overload", by Jack Kessler.
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