by Agnès Callu, ed. Honoré Champion, 2011, 716 p.
General Director of Arts and Letters with André Malraux from 1959 to 1966, Gaëtan Picon never ceased to be a critic of writers and artists. While his Minister wants everywhere, through the Maisons de la Culture, to spread the total heritage of past productions, he favors, as a philosopher inspired by Nietzsche, the creative impetus of the generation of René Char or Jean Dubuffet. Inventor of a theorization of contemporary culture, he advocates a Museum of Modern Art, renewed in its intellectual postulates as much as in its structures. Outside of political time and away from structural research, he is passionate about interpreting the genesis of works from the workshops of their authors. From then on, he configures the rules of a «conscious», poetic and philosophical criticism which, by the density of a style at the same time sensualist and abstract, has however marginalized him in the social imaginations.
Former student of the Ecole nationale des Chartes (thesis published on the Reunion of National Museums under the Third Republic, Prix Lenoir) and of the Institut national du Patrimoine (promotion Hubert Robert), PhD in contemporary history of the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, Agnès Callu is a historian, curator of Heritage at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, associate researcher at the CNRS (Institut d'histoire du temps présent, IHTP), lecturer at the Université Paris – Sorbonne (Paris IV) and Sciences Po as well as lecturer at the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE)