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Masterpieces at the Poissy prison Bringing art into the prison system: a project born of a rich and innovative partnership

Public outreach - Archives - January 1, 2011

In January 2011, life-sized reproductions of ten paintings from the Musée du Louvre were unveiled at the Poissy prison near Paris. The exhibition, entitled “Au-delà des murs” (Beyond the Walls), was staged by inmates in cooperation with the Louvre and presented by writer Luc Lang and scenographer Philippe Maffre.

In January 2011, life-sized reproductions of ten paintings from the Musée du Louvre were unveiled at the Poissy prison near Paris. The exhibition, entitled “Au-delà des murs” (Beyond the Walls), was staged by inmates in cooperation with the Louvre and presented by writer Luc Lang and scenographer Philippe Maffre.

"Au delà des murs", Projet inédit de la prison de Poissy

"Au delà des murs", Projet inédit de la prison de Poissy

© Musée du Louvre

Since 2007, the Musée du Louvre has partnered with penitentiary authorities to lead workshops by museum staff. In 2009, further steps were taken with an ambitious and unprecedented project with the Poissy prison, which aimed to work with ten inmates to stage an exhibition of quality reproductions of Louvre masterpieces.

Writer Luc Lang, member of the Maison des écrivains et de la littérature, and architect-scenographer Philippe Maffre, who has already teamed with the Louvre, worked with a group of inmates, correctional counselors, probation officers and Louvre staff. The six-month initiative began with each of the ten inmates choosing a painting from the digital copies made for the traveling exhibition “Images of the Louvre”. Using an artwork as a point of departure, the inmates then developed an artistic project – graphic design and text – and wrote the exhibition catalogue.

The exhibition was unveiled at a moving inauguration, held in the main Poissy prison courtyard, in the presence of inmates, project coordinators, Olivier Maurel, Director of the Maison Centrale de Poissy, Jean-Amédée Lathoud, Director of Penitentiary Administration, Henri Loyrette, Director of the Musée du Louvre, Claire Mérigonde, Director of Prison Rehabilitation and Probation Services (SPIP), representatives of the Louvre’s Public Outreach and Artistic Education Department, Les éditions du Louvre, penitentiary technical services and journalists.

In the wake of such a rich and successful human and artistic experience, new cooperative projects are under consideration.

This achievement, a perfect illustration of the museum’s desire to play a prominent role in civil society and share its collections with a wide audience, would not have been possible without the generous support of Frédéric Jousse, a loyal patron to whom the Musée du Louvre once again expresses its gratitude.

Corporate patrons will find all the projects in need of support on the dedicated mini-site: www.louvresponsorship.com

Practical information

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