Flamboyant former culture minister and bad boy Frédéric Mitterrand dies age 76

Former culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand, a high-profile and sometimes controversial figure on France’s arts scene, died on Thursday in Paris at the age of 76 after several months battling cancer.

Mitterrand was the nephew of former Socialist president François Mitterrand, but his own foray into politics was short and not so sweet.

He served as culture minister from 2019 to 2012 under Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative government, having come to Sarkozy’s attention while head of the Villa Medici – the French Academy in Rome – in 2008.

During his time in office Mitterrand defended a contested law on controlling the downloading of cultural works on the internet, and he laid the first stones of the Mucem museum of civilisation in Marseille as well as the Philharmonie in Paris.

Fragments of a wall painting from the tomb of an Egyptian prince kept in Le Louvre museum were returned to Egypt under his watch, while he also supported the return of Maori skulls to New Zealand.

Sarkozy was among the first to pay tribute to a “profoundly cultivated and sensitive man, singular, endearing, unclassifiable”.

Mitterrand’s films, books and programmes would remain “as testimonies for his love of art and culture”, Sarkozy added.

Read more on RFI English

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