The Musée de l’Eventail, located within the Atelier Anne Hoguet, a workshop for fan-making and restoration in Paris, renowned for treasuring classy gilded fans, is in the throes of pandemic as the cultural industry around the world is faced with an unprecedented crisis.
The studio that teaches design and restoration to a new generation of fan-makers was placed on France’s intangible heritage list last year.
It was under the liability of paying 117,000 euros ($142,000) in rent arrears which was overshot owing to closure during lockdowns by the end of last year.
Bailiffs are now vying for the expropriation of the museum’s artefacts treasuring 2,500 original pieces — including historic fans made from turtle shell, lace and silk and adorned with diamonds and rubies.
Lamenting the tragedy Anne Hoguet, the museum’s 74-year-old director, who has trained at least four generations of fan makers told the AP ,” I can’t believe Parisians will let a part of their heritage die. I have a problem, because I always believed there would be a miracle.”
The institution used to restore the fans sent by aristocratic families who fled to their country homes now. Located in the French capital’s popular 10th district, It charges just 7 euros for entry but was forced to close for most of 2020 because of government virus restrictions.
The traditional fan making with wooden sticks and painted paper leaves is considered sacred in many ancient cultures. But in France, its golden age was in the French court of 18th-century Versailles, where women used fans as the instrument to hide flirtatious gestures behind. Many of the artefacts had been featured elaborately in couture collection of Chanel, Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Cover image by Oanow