• France's news in English
Paris to get 'gift' of another mega art gallery
The Bourse de Commerce, soon to be Paris' newest art museum. Photo: Eric Feferburg/AFP

Paris to get 'gift' of another mega art gallery

AFP · 27 Apr 2016, 14:29

Published: 27 Apr 2016 14:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Apr 2016 14:29 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Francois Pinault, the luxury goods mogul who also owns the auction house Christie's, is taking over the Bourse de Commerce in the centre of the French capital to show off his $1.4-billion (€1.2-billion) collection of modern masters.

The city's mayor Anne Hidalgo, who negotiated the deal, described the museum as "an immense gift to the heart of Paris".

Pinault, 79, has amassed an enormous trove of work by artists from Mark Rothko to Damien Hirst, which he now shows at his private museums in Venice after failing for decades to find a suitable home for them in Paris.

"I am delighted, it's a big plus for the city," Hidalgo told AFP, pointing out that the new museum is also only a few hundred metres from the Pompidou Centre, Europe's biggest contemporary art collection.

She praised Pinault and his great business rival, France's richest man Bernard Arnault - who opened his own Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Foundation for his art collection last year - for helping put Paris back on the modern art map.

"It is great to have our captains of industry helping to fly our colours. With this and the FIAC art fair, Paris is regaining its place in contemporary art," she added.

€1billion facelift

Story continues below…

The historic Parisian grain exchange which Pinault is taking over 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.

Paris's magnificent 19th-century central market was bulldozed in the 1970s to make way for an airless underground shopping complex and transport hub which most of its residents loathe.

But a vast new steel-and-glass canopy unveiled this month by Hidalgo to put a lid on the problem has also been derided, branded a "custard-coloured flop" by the British daily The Guardian.

Under terms of the deal, Pinault and his family will be given a 50-year lease on the building, which they must also renovate. It was not revealed how much the work would cost or how much rent he will pay.

In 2001, Pinault handed the reins of his empire - which includes the Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Puma and Balenciaga brands - to his son Francois-Henri, who is married to the Mexican Hollywood star Salma Hayek.

Since then the man once described as "the most powerful in the art world", has mostly dedicated himself to his art collection, installing it in the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and two other historic buildings there. They will now work in tandem with the new Paris gallery, which will open in 2018, sources close to the collector told AFP.

Pinault had tried for years to build a museum on 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.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available