From stuffed pigeons to slowly melting chairs, the billionaire mogul’s art collection has it all



PARIS: The reopening of Parisian museums this week finally gives billionaire mogul François Pinault the chance to showcase his vast collection of contemporary art in the French capital, with works ranging from stuffed pigeons to slowly melting chairs.

The museum’s launch in a converted 19th-century commodity exchange a few blocks from the Louvre has been twice suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic after suffering previous planning incidents, with an initial project scrapped in 2005.

Pinault, 84 – who made his fortune in the lumber business before going into retail under the group now known as Kering, run by his son – joins French luxury mogul Bernard Arnault in an attempt to ” imprint its heritage on the artistic scene and the Parisian landscape, with museums and renovation projects.

But the Bourse de Commerce – Collection Pinault, inaugurated on May 22, will also give visitors a glimpse of the businessman’s vast collection of art purchases since the 1980s, including works by photographer Cindy Sherman. and painter Peter Doig.

The 200 works exhibited for the opening, many of them straight out of storage, feature artists who have never had a retrospective in France, such as Kerry James Marshall, known for his black figure paintings and his explorations of Afro history. -american.

An ephemeral work by Swiss-born artist Urs Fischer will take center stage at the launch, with wax sculptures set up in the central space, including chairs and a marble statue, which will slowly melt for six months. as they are turned on.

Overhead, stuffed pigeons gaze into the gallery, in an art installation titled “Others” by Maurizio Cattelan designed to give visitors a surprising sense of being watched.

The project follows Pinault’s attempt to build a new museum in western Paris on the site of a former Renault car factory, which has become bogged down in feuds with local authorities. The billionaire has since opened two museums in Venice, Italy.


Paintings by South African artist Marlene Dumas at the Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection, which houses the private art collection of French billionaire François Pinault in Paris.

Arnault, who is the originator of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, built his Louis Vuitton foundation in the west of the French capital, opening Frank Gehry’s futuristic design to public exhibitions in 2014.

The Cartier Foundation, linked to the jewelry brand owned by the Swiss Richemont, has been a cultural hotspot for contemporary art exhibitions in Paris since the 1980s.


Many museums in France are reopening for the first time since October on May 19 as COVID-19 restrictions ease. The Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection will welcome between 600 and 700 visitors per day, a small attendance compared to its capacity of 1,700.

In Paris’s overcrowded art world, once dominated by public institutions, private museums now offer a new perspective, said Martin Bethenod, CEO of the Bourse de Commerce.

“Now it’s a much more balanced art scene, it’s kind of an ecosystem in which private and public can work together,” Bethenod told Reuters.

Housed in an old circular grain hall, the exterior of the Bourse de Commerce has been restored, while the old and the new mingle inside. A cement walkway designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando offers visitors a close-up view of the imposing glass dome, as well as a late 19th-century painting depicting an archaic worldview centered on Europe, with colonial stereotypes.

Part of the concept was to keep the work, in a form of dialogue with contemporary artists, Bethenod said.

“Mr. Pinault’s point of view is closely linked to social issues, social issues, political issues, gender issues, cultural issues,” he added.



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