Massive Drop in Attendance Causes Pinacotheque de Paris to Close

The Singapore location will stay open.

The Pinacotheque de Paris. Photo: Wikipedia.
The Pinacotheque de Paris. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Pinacotheque de Paris, a private art museum and gallery owned and operated by Modigliani scholar Marc Restellini, shut its doors yesterday for good following a massive drop in attendance. Restellini attributes the dramatic decrease in visitors to the tragic Parisian terrorist attacks that took place in November 2015, leaving 130 dead. The gallery’s Singapore branch will remain open.

“[The] large drop in attendance figures means we cannot continue in such costly premises,” Restellini told the AFP. “The deadly economic climate due to a large extent to the November 13 attacks forces the closing of the Madeleine sites.”

The closure comes as a surprise to Parisians following the gallery’s run of blockbuster shows including those of work by Edvard Munch, Jackson Pollock, and Man Ray. The abrupt decision also curtails the planned run of the current exhibition, “Karl Lagerfeld, a Visual Journey,” a showcase of photographs by the fashion legend that was slated to be on view until March 20.

While the aftermath of the terrorist attacks has seen a dip in attendance at museums and cultural institutions around the city, the Pinacothèque de Paris was already experiencing a significant downturn, with a loss of 20–25 percent of visitors in the past two years. In November, its parent company, Art Héritage France, was put into receivership in an attempt to stave off the closing.

The gallery opened in 2003 in the 10th arrondissement with an exhibition of Picasso works before moving to the chic Place de la Madeleine in 2007. In 2008, “Soldiers of Eternity,” an exhibition on the Terracotta Army, drew 500,000 viewers, while a subsequent exhibition of 17th century Dutch masters garnered a whopping 700,000 attendees in just four months—reportedly almost double the number of visitors to the shows headlining at the Louvre and the Grand Palais at the time.

“Museums are too often the graveyards of works of art. I want to bring them to life,” Restellini told the AFP.

Restellini said he eventually hopes to reopen in Paris, with one location dedicated to contemporary art and another for historical shows. He is currently seeking a more “economically sustainable location.”


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