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David Franklin Goes to Court Against National Gallery of Canada UPDATED TWICE

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David Franklin, on leave and in court

When David Franklin suddenly went “on leave” July 2 from his post as deputy director of the National Gallery of Canada, the museum’s director of public affairs, Joanne Charette, told me:

The man has a right to his privacy….Eventually, there will be further explanation.

Now there is: Yesterday he went to court against both the museum and its director, Pierre Théberge, who had announced previously that he would be leaving his post once a new director was appointed. Franklin had been thought to be a possible candidate, according to press accounts.

Paul Gessell of the Ottawa Citizen reports:

Deputy Judge Orville Frenette dismissed Franklin’s application for “a judicial review.” Frenette’s short, written ruling did not reveal what Franklin wanted reviewed. The judge also ordered the court file “permanently sealed,” denying access to the public in perpetuity….The Ottawa Citizen has learned that Franklin feared Théberge was unfairly trying to fire him or to otherwise thwart his career ambitions.

That last loaded sentence from Gessell’s story appeared in the version of his report on‘s above-linked Global TV website, but not on its Ottawa Citizen website.

Whatever the issues, it’s a safe bet that we’ve not heard the last of what Gessell calls “a veritable civil war at the National Gallery.”

At this writing, my e-mailed and phoned requests for further clarification from Joanne Charette, the museum’s director of public affairs, have not been answered. I will update if more news becomes available.

UPDATE: Charette ignored my detailed questions but has just sent me this press release. It still gives Franklin his museum title and says that he is still working on an upcoming museum show:

The National Gallery is delighted to announce the exclusive presentation of the exhibition “Raphael to Carracci: The Art of Papal Rome,” on view May 29 to Sept. 6, 2009.  Deputy Director and Chief Curator David Franklin continues to devote his efforts…to this unique exhibit….

Dr. Franklin has been working hard and focusing his efforts on assembling what is expected to be the largest exhibit of major pieces of art from the Renaissance Rome period (1500 to 1600) ever held outside of Rome itself….

As the exhibition lead curator, Dr. Franklin was released from his institutional duties to support his writing of the main essay and numerous catalogue entries and he is also acting as editor of the exhibition catalogue.

Some enterprising reporter needs to get hold of Dr. Franklin and reveal the real picture beneath the whitewash.

: The chary Charette has just sent me this reply to my follow-up e-mail asking for answers to my questions:

I have communicated all that I can. David Franklin is working on the Raphael exhibition. He will then resume is full duties of Deputy Director and Chief Curator.

That last bit is something we didn’t know (and still wonder about).

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