Francois Pinault Houses Collection in New Museum
The billionaire art collector finds a spot for his collection in Paris.
The billionaire luxury goods tycoon Francois Pinault, who helms luxury group Kering and the auction house Christie’s, has been in the art world for some time now – he boasts one of the biggest private art collections in the world (valued at around $1.4 billion). Now, Pinault has finally found a place to house his collection — which contains the work of artists ranging from Mark Rothko to Damien Hirst — and will open it to the public for viewing. The Bourse de Commerce is a building that’s also at the intersection of Art and Business. The beautiful building’s interior was decorated by a number of painters, and it’s also been the site of a few fashion shows. Pinault – also famous for being the husband of Salma Hayek – has been unable to find a suitable home for the collection in Paris for decades, and, before, only showed them at private museums in Venice.
The city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo, who negotiated the deal, described the museum as “an immense gift to the heart of Paris”. “I am delighted, it’s a big plus for the city,” Hidalgo told AFP, pointing out that the new museum is also close to the Pompidou Centre, Europe’s biggest contemporary art collection. Another businessman who helped put Paris on the modern art map was France’s richest man, and Pinault’s business rival, Bernard Arnault – who opened his own Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Foundation for his art collection last year.
The Bourse de Commerce is part of a one-billion-euro urban renewal project to give what Hidalgo calls a “new beating heart” to the city’s Les Halles district. As a part of the deal, Pinault and his family will be given a 50-year lease on the building, which they must also renovate (the cost or rent was not revealed). This must be a boon for Pinault, who tried to build up a museum at the site of an old Renault car factory on the Ile Seguin in the middle of the Seine west of Paris, but gave up in despair in 2005 over planning delays. The gallery will open in 2018, sources close to the collector told AFP.
“It is great to have our captains of industry helping to fly our colors. With this and the FIAC art fair, Paris is regaining its place in contemporary art” Hidalgo noted. The collection will definitely be of great value to the Parisian public, and help foster the cultural consciousness of the city overall.