PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday. “Quick, straighten it out!” said deputy curator Simone Arnaud, who had made space by pulling down Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading The People from its prominent spot near the museum’s entrance and frantically began dusting off the unsightly oil painting by the Dutch Post-Impressionist with her shirtsleeve mere moments before the donor’s unexpected arrival, which the staff had just been alerted to several minutes earlier. “Ah, shit, we don’t have a plaque for it. Whatever, that’s fine, as long as we have it out. Otherwise, we’ll never hear the end of it.” At press time, Arnaud had sent several museum docents to intercept the arriving donor and distract him with offers of an all-access personal tour while she hastily ran over to the painting and flipped it right-side-up.

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