The Musée du Louvre and global apparel retailer UNIQLO announce on 28 January 2021 a four-year partnership with the launch of a first creative collection inspired by the museum’s masterpieces and support organised in aid of free access to the museum.
As the first initiative of this new partnership, the UNIQLO T-shirt (UT) brand will launch the ‘Musée du Louvre Collection’, available from 4 February in UNIQLO stores and on boutique.louvre.fr, the Louvre new online shop dedicated to showcasing the museum’s collaborations. The men’s line was created by the prominent British graphic designer Peter Saville, who is best known for the revolutionising record cover designs he created in the early 80’s, notably those for Joy Division and New Order. His sophisticated graphic approach to the new collection is based primarily on the inventory number system that museums use to catalogue artworks. Little known to the general public, inventory numbers are essential for museums, not only because they allow the identification of an object in the museum’s collections, but they also bear witness to the institution’s acquisition policy.
Additionally UNIQLO will launch a women’s line of UTs featuring Louvre works with a focus on the female form as a universal message for diversity.
As of spring 2021, UNIQLO will be taking over the sponsorship of the Free Saturday Nights programme that began in January 2019. Designed as unique, festive occasions, these night openings seek to encourage new visitors to learn about the Louvre and its artworks in a more relaxed environment. For this purpose, the museum’s opening hours are extended on the first Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Visitors are invited to wander through the three wings of the Louvre, discovering masterpieces of art history and the little-known corners of the former palace of the kings of France.
The Free Saturday Nights have been a great success ; 160,000 people participated in 2019, mainly families and people working in the Paris region. Although temporarily suspended due to the current pandemic, this programme is expected to resume its usual rhythm on the first Saturday of each month in due course.
The partnership between the Louvre and UNIQLO also includes support of the ‘Mini-Discovery Tours’, a new format launched by the Louvre in July 2020. Mostly dedicated to families, these 20-minute-long guided tours will take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Additionally, special events will be organised every month to allow first-time and returning visitors to further enjoy the museum’s offerings.
UNIQLO will expand its collaboration collection with new items until 2024.
‘I am honoured and excited to be partnering with the world-renowned Musée du Louvre. This is a longtime dream come true’, said Fast Retailing Chairman, President, and CEO Tadashi Yanai. ‘UNIQLO has done much to date to share the pleasure of art with the general public, especially in keeping with our commitment to LifeWear, which is clothing designed to help make everyone’s daily life better. We hope that our partnership with the museum can enable as many people as possible to experience and appreciate the universal beauty of the masterworks in its collection’.
|More about the Louvre’s inventory numbers
Certain works held in the Louvre today have several inventory numbers, due to their inscription in successive registers or to numbers which have been directly affixed to the object itself, in various forms such as a label stuck on the support, inscription in ink or pencil, stamp, seal, etc. Each of these marks is a clue to a successive owner or event in the artwork’s history, and their review allows us to better understand its history and to properly document its provenance.
Thus, for the Venus de Milo, it is MA 399: The Venus de Milo was discovered in 1820 on the Greek island of Melos (now called Milo). The Marquis de Rivière, then French Ambassador to the Sublime Porte, gave it to the King of France Louis XVIII, who donated it to the Louvre the following year, under inventor number LL 299. In 1896, the curator of the A. Héron de Villefosse museum assigned it the number MA 399 in his publication The Catalogue of Ancient Marbles (the initials MA stand for “Marbres antiques”, Ancient marbles).
The number INV 779 is that of La Joconde: The painting representing Lisa Gherardini, known as La Joconde or Mona Lisa, bought in 1518 by François Ier probably entered the royal collections of François Ier the year after, upon the death of Leonardo da Vinci. It was not until 1824 that it was registered in The General Inventory of Royal Museums under number MR 316. It was then assigned the number INV 779 in The General Inventory of Imperial Museums written under the direction of Frédéric Villot in 1854, which gave each artwork an inventory number made up of the letters “INV.” followed by a number for just over 10,100 paintings. This inventory number, still in use today, is the only one retained for paintings acquired before the Second Empire.