Françoise Cachin

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Françoise Cachin (8 May 1936, Paris – 5 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 was born to the pediatrician Charles Cachin and his wife Ginette (née Signac).[1] Her grandfathers were the communist politician Marcel Cachin and the pointillist painter Paul Signac.[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 Gaugin (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 of amyloidosis.[2] She was at work editing the journals of Paul Signac.[4]


  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.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.