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Salet, Francis

    Full Name: Salet, Francis

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1909

    Date Died: 2000

    Place Born: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Place Died: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: France


    Heraldry authority and Director of the Musée Cluny, 1967-1979. Salet graduated from the École nationale des chartes of the Sorbonne, in archival paleography in 1932. Salet was hired at the Louvre Museum in 1937 in the Department of Sculpture. After World War II, he moved to the the Department of Objets d’Art in 1945. Three years later, in 1948 he joined the Musée national du Moyen Age (Cluny) Museum as a conservator. Salet wrote the volume on Gothic art for the series Les Neuf muses: histoire générale des arts in 1963. His interests included medieval heraldry and emblems which he used to identify dates of art works. He published his Histoire et heraldique: La succession de Bourgogne de 1361, in 1966. He rose to conservateur en chef in 1967. He edited the Bulletin Monumental and was president of the Societe Francaise d’Archeologie. In that capacity he and Alain Erlande-Brandenburg sponsored the American Walter B. Cahn for membership in the Société. In 1972 he added the role of Inspector General of the Museums of France, holding all position until his retirement in 1979. As Inspector General, the Musée de la Renaissance au château d’Ecouen (Val- d’Oise) was created. Bewteen 1981 and 1999 he was part of the college of curators in Chantilly (Oise). Throughout his life, Salet argued for a study of monuments and art objects based on the examination of relevant sources and texts. His life was dedicated to safeguarding France’s cultural heritage, from its museum treasures to its historical monuments.

    Selected Bibliography

    La Madeleine de Vézelay. Melun: Librairie d’Argences, 1948; L’art gothique. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1963; “Histoire et heraldique: La succession de Bourgogne de 1361.” in, Gallais, Pierre, and Riou, Yves-Jean, eds. Mélanges offerts à René Crozet: a l’occasion de son 70. anniversaire par ses amis, ses collègues, ses élèves et les membres du C.É.S.C.M. Poitiers: Société d’Études Médiévales, 1966, pp. 1307-1316; Cluny et Vézelay: l’ouvre des sculpteurs. Paris: Société française d’archéologie, 1995.


    Sears, Elizabeth. “The Art-Historical Work of Walter Cahn.” in Hourihane, Colum, ed. Romanesque Art and Thought in the Twelfth Century: Essays in Honor of Walter Cahn. University Park, Pa: Penn State Press, 2008, p. 21, note 39; [obituaries:] Sauerlander, Willibald. Bulletin Monumental 158 no. 4 (2000): 289-292; Joubert, Fabienne. “Francis Salet (1909-2000).” Revue de l’Art 130 (2000): 87; Vaivre, Jean-Bernard de. “Francis Salet, un eminent connaisseur de l’heraldique et de l’emblematique medievales.” Bulletin Monumental 158 no. 4 (2000): 293-295.


    "Salet, Francis." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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