François Pinault’s New $170 Million Art Museum Finally Has an Opening Date. Here’s a Sneak Peek Inside the Breathtaking Space

Paris's new private museum will open in June and a joint show with the Centre Pompidou is in the pipeline.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection. Photo ©Patrick Tournebœuf/Tendance Floue for the Pinault Collection, Paris.
Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection. Photo ©Patrick Tournebœuf/Tendance Floue for the Pinault Collection, Paris.

The French mega-collector François Pinault has announced that his $170 million museum in Paris will open next June, but he is keeping everyone guessing what will be on show.

Highlights of his contemporary art collection will be housed in Paris’s former stock exchange, which is being converted by the luxury goods billionaire’s go-to architect, Tadao Ando. It will be called the Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection. Around ten special exhibitions a year will draw on his blue-chip art collection, as well as feature star loans.

The new museum will be near the Louvre and the Pompidou Center. Pinault told the New York Times earlier this year that he wants his contemporary art collection to “complement” Paris’s existing institutions. He also told the Times that he is planning a collaborative exhibition with the Centre Pompidou, which will take place in both venues in late 2020. He hinted that it would feature a “world-famous” male artist, fueling speculation about who might get such a special honor. 

It will be Pinault’s third museum. He has two magnificent spaces in Venice, the 18th-century Palazzo Grassi, and a former customs building, the Punta della Dogana, but neither are as ambitious as his Paris project. Two decades ago he tried unsuccessfully to build a home for his collection on the Île Seguin on the outskirts of Paris. The project on an island in the Seine was scrapped in 2005, prompting the collector to focus on Venice.  

Pinault’s museum in central Paris will mean he will be going head to head with France’s other luxury goods billionaire collector, Bernard Arnaud. His Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton has pulled in blue-chip loans from major institutions since it opened in 2014. Lenders have included New York’s MoMA, the Tate in London, as well as the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, for shows that are beyond the resources of most public museums.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection by Maxime Tétard.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection by Maxime Tétard.

Pinault spoke of the hurdles faced by French museums, which are often too slow to make acquisitions while the prices of contemporary art escalates out of their reach. “Only a madman like me can decide to buy [contemporary art] that fast,” Pinault said. He is, of course, a major player in the art market helping to launch Damien Hirst‘s spectacular sculpture show, “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” for example.  

Pinault founded the luxury conglomerate Kering, which owns brands including Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen. The family’s holding company, Artemis S.A, also owns Christie’s auction house. The 83-year-old has been collecting for more than 40 years, and while it is yet to be announced what will be on display in the museum’s inaugural exhibition, his collection comprises some 5,000 works by artists including Cindy Sherman, Albert Oehlen, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Louise Bourgeois

The 19th-century, glass-domed building is owned by the city of Paris, but Pinault has paid more than €15 million ($16 million) for a 50-year lease on the 130-year-old venue. He has also promised the city a percentage of the museum’s turnover in its first two years of operation. Pinault will bankroll the running costs of the museum, which will boast some 30,000-square-feet of exhibition space. There will be seven exhibition galleries on the first floor, and a black-box space for experimental visual and sound works. It will also house a 300-seat auditorium, according to the French magazine Le Quotidien de l’Art.

The Bourse de Commerce has been painstakingly restored and modernized by Ando. It is the Pritzker prize-winning Japanese architect’s largest project in France so far. Unlike the ill-fated Île Seguin project, work began quickly, on the former stock exchange. It is due to be completed in January, just over two years since it began in 2017. 

Here are more images of the new museum:

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection. Photo ©Patrick Tournebœuf/Tendance Floue for the Pinault Collection, Paris.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection. Photo ©Patrick Tournebœuf/Tendance Floue for the Pinault Collection, Paris.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection by Maxime Tétard.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection by Maxime Tétard.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection by Maxime Tétard.

Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection by Maxime Tétard.


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