Is François Pinault Planning a Private Museum in Paris?

The mega collector might get his Paris museum after all.

François Pinault in his Palazzo Grassi exhibition space. Photo: welcometocompany.com

Will François Pinault finally bring his collection to Paris? The luxury goods magnate and mega-collector chose to show his contemporary art collection in Venice’s Palazzo Grassi after excessive bureaucracy and administrative complications prevented him from showing the works on Paris’ Île Seguin in 2004.

However, according to the French newspaper La Croix, the billionaire is reconsidering showing at least a part of his art collection in the French capital.

Speculation is rife that Pinault is a leading candidate in the French government’s “Reinventing Paris” initiative, a competition which seeks to encourage urban regeneration within the city by inviting applicants to redevelop 23 city-owned properties. Apparently, Pinault has already narrowed down the location for his project to three sites.

Hôtel de Coulanges, Paris. Photo: reinventer.paris

Hôtel de Coulanges, Paris.
Photo: reinventer.paris

La Croix reported that the most likely address for Pinault’s showroom is the Ambassador’s Theatre (Espace Cardin) located in the Champs-Elysées gardens. The large rooms have a total floor space of around 3,000 sq. meters and an auditorium with 673 seats. The space’s central location a stone’s throw away from the Grand Palais is a big plus.

Also in the running is the Hôtel de Coulanges, a stunning 17th century private mansion in the heart of Paris’ historic gallery district, le Marais. With over 2,000 sq. meters of floor space the location is large and prestigious enough to house some of Pinault’s collection.

The collector is reportedly also considering the Ordener, a former industrial building in Paris’ 18th arrondissement in the northern outskirts of the city. At 1,800 sq. meters and 31 meter glass ceilings, the former factory is ideal for showing contemporary art and large-scale works.

Ordener, Paris. Photo: reinventer.paris

Ordener, Paris.
Photo: reinventer.paris

Whichever site Pinault decides on, it’s difficult to imagine that local authorities would reject a proposal for a so-called “Pinault Museum.” According to reports, the museum could be opened as early as the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018 at the latest.

In a statement responding to the La Croix article, Pinault’s spokesperson Jean-Jacques Aillagon neither confirmed nor denied the rumors.

He told La Croix, “François Pinault has indeed been asked on several occasions to realize a museum in Paris to show his collection, like the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, although he has not yet made a decision.”

However, he added, “If François Pinault gave his name to such a project it would be to contribute to the cultural influence of Paris, not to indulge in puerile competition of private initiatives. The reputation of France and Paris deserves better than playground squabbles.”

Now, who could he possibly be alluding to?


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