The Louvre in Paris has removed the name of the Sackler family from its walls, becoming the first major museum to erase its public association with the philanthropist family linked with the opioid crisis in the United States.
The Louvre’s collection of Persian and Levantine artifacts is housed in a wing that has been known as the Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities since 1997.
But on Wednesday, a plaque acknowledging the Sacklers’ donations had been removed from the gallery’s entrance, and references to “the Sackler Wing” on other signs in the museum had been covered with gray tape.
Members of the Sackler family own Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, an enormously profitable and frequently abused painkiller that is the subject of numerous lawsuits in the United States.
In March, Britain’s National Portrait Gallery turned down a $1.3 million donation from a charitable arm of the family. That prompted a host of cultural institutions across Europe and the United States, including the Tate group of museums in Britain and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, to announce that they would not accept further donations from the family. The Sackler Trust and the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, two foundations based in Britain, suspended further philanthropy.
But many museums also said they would respect past philanthropy and would not be changing the name of any wing or gallery named after the family.
Sophie Aguirre, 50, a guard at the Louvre, said on Wednesday that the plaque at the wing was taken down on either July 8 or 9, when the wing was closed to visitors.
Nine other signs in the building that referenced the wing had been taped over. Ms. Aguirre said another large sign that acknowledged the Sackler donation had also been removed.References to “the Sackler Wing” have also been removed from the Louvre’s website.
On Tuesday, Jean-Luc Martinez, the museum’s president, told RTL, a French radio station, that the Sackler name had been taken down because the Louvre’s policy on naming rights is that they last for 20 years.
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