- August 2006
22 .III. 1921 - 28.VII.2006
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Hubert Landais, former President of ICOM (1977-1983), former Chair of ICOM-France (1974-1977) and one of the organization's Honorary Members. Hubert Landais enjoyed an illustrious museum career in the service of French museums. While it will be for others closer to him to elaborate on his remarkable contribution in this area, we note that he commenced at the Louvre in 1946 in the Département des objets d'art du Moyen Âge, de la Renaissance et des Temps moderns. He published Les bronzes italiens de la Renaissance in 1958 and in 1963 La porcelaine française au XVIIIe siècle. As Deputy Director, later Director of the French museum service (1977-1987), he was closely involved with the remarkable development of museums all over France, during the seventies and eighties, and, in Paris, the opening of the Musée Picasso in 1985, of the Musée d'Orsay in 1986 and much of the planning for the Grand Louvre. At the time of his retirement, in 1987, he was presented with a collection of essays entitled Hommage à Hubert Landais and those who attended this event remember well the respect and affection shown to him at that time.
His initial involvement with ICOM's government was with the Advisory Committee as Chairman of the French National Committee. His presidency of ICOM was very much a period of reorganisation in which his skills and knowledge as a curator and an administrator brought increased professional standing and a measure of financial stability to the organization as well as the rebuilding of a depleted staff. ICOM also commenced undertaking operational projects for UNESCO throughout his presidency.
As President of ICOM, Hubert Landais was furthermore responsible for important ICOM initiatives such as the creation of the International Museum Day (May 18), celebrated every year since 1978.
With the establishment of an Ethics Committee as an arms-length standing committee of the Executive Council, Hubert Landais was appointed Chairman and served ICOM in that capacity until 1996. It was in this latter capacity that I first grew to know him and to enjoy the benefit of associating with such wisdom, humor and insight.
In recent years ICOM has continued to benefit from his vast knowledge and dedicated commitment. He was an active Member of the ICOM Foundation. Many of us attending the 60th anniversary celebrations at Versailles in May were especially privileged to witness his pleasure and enjoyment, revelling in this momentous celebration. It is this memory we will retain forever in our hearts and minds.
On behalf of all of his former colleagues and fellow members in ICOM, let me express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. He will not be forgotten.