Le Louvre Inc.: How the World's Favorite Museum Is Richer, Bolder and Edgier than Ever

ULRICH LEBEUF / MYOP FOR TIME

SHOCK THERAPY: Louvre director Loyrette is shaking things up by introducing controversial new works like Fabre's Self-Portrait as the World's Biggest Worm

Even by her own exacting standards, the black-tie gala that Houston socialite Becca Cason Thrash organized in Paris on June 10 was exceptional. The 272 attendees, who paid up to $10,000 each, included a smattering of European royalty, Bianca Jagger, Wall Street grandees Wilbur Ross and Stephen Schwarzman, and the cream of Houston high society. Thrash flew in her Los Angeles decorator, and says she was so nervous about the arrangements that "by 6 p.m. I was looking for a cyanide capsule." This wasn't any old fund raiser: it was held for the Louvre, in the Louvre — in the vaulted...

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