The "Nouveau Louvre" during the Second Empire

E. Baldus (1813-1889)
Pavillon Colbert in Renovation 1856

The Second Republic and the Second Empire pursued the same policy. The museum, more of which was opened to the public, continued to extend its collections and to add new areas, such as those of the Etruscans, Archaic Greece and the Ancient Orient.

Napoleon III commissioned the architect Visconti to complete the Palace. Hector Lefuel, who succeeded him on the site, led the work and imposed his ideas in an excessive and self-opinionated manner. The section which separated the two palaces was torn down, symmetrical blocks enclosed the new cour Napoléon, the façades were covered with a riot of decoration and the North wing closed off the whole unit. The Nouveau Louvre, which was inaugurated in 1857, finally completed the "Grand Dessein" or Grand Design. Transformations which were completed in 1869 changed the appearance of the South-West wing.

The benefit of these efforts was enjoyed for only two years, since the palais des Tuileries was destroyed by fire in 1871.

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