La Tour Eiffel: Mayer’s Bosses Come Calling


The National Gallery of Canada has got itself a bit of a controversy.


National Gallery director Marc Mayer must be a very important person.

Because when the people by way of the media … who pay his salary and own the building in which he works and own the painting La Tour Eiffel and elect the minister to whom gallery has some kind relation to (vague as it may be) … come calling, Mayer doesn’t answer the phone, his emails, refuses to be interviewed and his spokeswoman says the public will be allowed to know about their painting and its future “in due course”. Mayer must be one big guy. He’s more important than his collective bosses, the citizens of Canada.

Mayer calls this professionalism because he doesn’t know the details and doesn’t know where the public’s painting is so speaking to the question would be unprofessional.

It’s an odd kind of professionalism that says being uninformed on an important issue is unprofessional. Some of we lesser people who pay his salary might suggest that he become informed in a professional way.

Of course this isn’t professionalism. It’s stonewalling because Mayer and the gallery are embarrassed about the botch of the sale of La Tour Eiffel. It’s doubtful that Mayer becoming informed would pose a threat to national security or  that state secrets are involved so perhaps he should tell we lowly citizens to whom public servants are supposed to serve what’s going on.

But Mayer is too big for that.

So if we philistines might intrude, perhaps Heritage Minister Melanie Joli or the prime minister himself might encourage the director to get informed and tell the public. Maybe they could suggest this to the board.

And if he doesn’t, then maybe the board should show the director the door.

But they better grease the door sills thoroughly because there’s a hell of an ego to squeeze through there.


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3 thoughts on “La Tour Eiffel: Mayer’s Bosses Come Calling

  1. Mayer was over-ruled by the board of trustees after having sent an open letter that was co-signed by the chair of the board.

    So the board had supported the sale until someone more significant made a stink. We still don’t know why the opposition thinks it was a bad idea, as compared to the plan of selling a significant painting to raise funds in case other artworks with even greater significance to Canada end up on the open market. I’m no artist so I can’t judge which artist or artwork is more worthy of being owned by the National Gallery, but I think the plan was a actually a good idea. It showed someone is thinking about the role of a National Gallery, and that just because they own something today shouldn’t mean they have to own in indefinitely into the future. Change is good.

    From what I’ve read in the media about the opposition, there’s no clear reason why this painting in particular shouldn’t be sold. Seems to me like there’s a certain cachet with having artwork that’s owned by a National Gallery.

    1. K.A.:

      First off, it’s good to see you commenting again.

      You have a valuable voice on The Bulldog.

      Second, I don’t really have an opinion as to whether the painting should have been sold.

      What I can’t stand is the arrogance of the gallery and its staff not talking to the public or the media.

      We pay the bills.

      We deserve the information. I see a huge amount of entitlement at the gallery.



      1. Thanks Ken!

        I hear you, it’s not okay to be a public institution and show arrogance to the public. I’d be as upset with the board, it’s their job to hold the gallery’s staff and management accountable on our behalf. If they over-ruled the gallery’s decision, they should explain why.


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