Opening of the exhibition “Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris”
Seattle Art Museum, Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Dear Charlie Wright,
Dear Winnie Stratton,
Dear Kim Rorschach,
Cher Alain Seban, Chairman, director and CEO of the Pompidou,
Cher Alfred Pacquement,
Dear Marisa Sanchez and Cécile Debray,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s such a pleasure and honor to be here with you tonight.
A year ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Seattle Art Museum and of meeting some of you.
I also had the opportunity to get acquainted with representatives of all the major cultural institutions of this beautiful city.
The topic of that day was the preparation of the “Elles” exhibition and the events that would be organized on that occasion and in conjunction with it.
Well, here we are! And on behalf of France, I would like to start by expressing my warmest thanks and congratulations to all those who have made this dream come true.
A year later, this landmark presentation of masterpieces by 75 women artists from the Centre Pompidou is here in the galleries, exquisitely displayed, so cleverly arranged.
“Elles” was a blockbuster in Paris, and I have no doubt it will be the most talked about, and I hope the most visited artistic event for years to come in Seattle!
This is truly an immense achievement.
And yet, the bar was high, after the Picasso exhibition in 2010-2011, and the Gauguin earlier this year.
But thanks to a fruitful dialogue between the Seattle Art Museum and the Pompidou, thanks to their shared commitment, thanks to the SAM organization, its supporters and donors, its Board of Trustees and its staff, “Elles,” in its originality, its depth and scope, is genuinely a premiere and a unique achievement.
It is also a unique way to show the richness, the range and the diversity of the collections of our Centre Pompidou – a national and international treasure - and share some of it with you.
This collaboration is truly exemplary and we hope that it will encourage future collaborative projects between SAM and the Pompidou and foster even closer cultural exchanges between our two countries. The trend has been set!
Such an endeavor would have been, in its own right, one of the highlights of France’s cultural presence in the United States in 2012 and beyond. But thanks to many of the most important cultural institutions, numerous French, Francophone or French-related events are taking place this fall in Seattle, contributing to a tremendously rich cultural season.
A significant number of these programs are intimately linked to the “Elles” exhibition, and thus are part of a city-wide conversation on the topics it addresses and the issues it raises.
I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who have committed your respective organizations to participating in the French Festival, with a very special word of thanks of course to the leadership of the Seattle Art Museum, a truly world-class museum, and to the Chairman, director and CEO of the Pompidou who has come especially from Paris with Alfred Pacquement and with their curator and staff to be here with us tonight.
The Pompidou is a wonderful flagship for French culture and one of its most famous ambassadors worldwide, and here I want to commend its very talented and successful Chairman, director and CEO Alain Seban for his leadership and his vision.
Among the organizations I would like to thank and congratulate, let me mention On the Boards, the Seattle Theater Group, the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, the Henry Art Gallery, UW World Series, Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle Symphony, and Elliot Bay Café.
May I also recognize our friends of the Alliance française de Seattle for their help in gathering sponsors for the season’s brochure, and our partner the French American Cultural Society for its strong support.
What we are celebrating tonight is an extraordinary achievement between the Seattle Art Museum and the Pompidou, with the support of each and everyone of you.
There could be no better illustration of the love affair that is taking root between Seattle and Paris, and of the fact that the heart of the French-American cultural partnership is also beating here in the great city of Seattle./.