François Pinault Wants New Paris Museum to Bring Harmony to the City

Pinault hopes art can bring comfort to a nation shaken by a string of terror attacks.

Francois Pinault attends the presentation of the project to install his art collection at the Paris Commercial Exchange on April 27, 2016. Photo Chesnot/Getty Images.

The French mega-collector and billionaire owner of Christie’s François Pinault is keen on speeding up the development of his Paris museum in an attempt to encourage positivity after the string of terrorist attacks that have rocked Paris and the whole of France over the last year.

Earlier this year, Pinault announced plans for a museum built in the Parisian district of Les Halles. The final plans were given the final go-ahead by the Paris City Council last month, and the museum is now slated to open in 2018.

“In the face of this barbarism, the only possible reaction is to move forward,” Pinault told the New York Times. “As André Malraux said, ‘Art is the shortest path from man to man.’ That is what prompted me to accelerate the completion of my project in Paris,” he added, explaining the impulse behind the project.

Pinault, also wants his museum to reach beyond the historic center of Paris and into the suburbs, the poorer and more disenfranchised areas of the city.

“By creating a museum in Paris, I do not seek to impose a trace, but to make my contribution to history,” Pinault told NYT. “The works of art will always have the last word.”

The former Paris stock exchange building that will house Pinault's private Museum. Photo courtesy of the City of Paris.

The former Paris stock exchange building that will house Pinault’s private Museum. Photo courtesy of the City of Paris.

The project will see Pinault restore the historic Bourse de Commerce with an interior designed by the Japanese architect Tado Ando. Ando is the man responsible for the renowned “art islands” off the coast of Japan, including Naoshima, which houses a hotel and spectacular museums.

The billionaire has signed a 50-year lease with the City of Paris and is putting up the money for the €50 million ($55 million) renovation, as well as being responsible for all future running costs of the museum.

The building will house his 3,000 strong collection, which includes works by Cy Twombly, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Agnes Martin, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, and Gerhard Richter.

Pinault also has a reputation for adventurous collecting and for supporting younger artists such as Dahn Vo, who curated a fantastic exhibition last year at the Pinault Foundation at Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

Pinault’s museum will join the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the brainchild of Bernard Arnault, chairman of fashion giant LVMH. Arnault’s $143 million, Frank Gehry-designed museum opened in Paris in October 2014.

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