Luxury billionaire François Pinault, owner of Christie’s auction house and founder of the retailing conglomerate Kering SA that includes Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, has found a home for his formidable art collection stated to be one of the most valuable in the world. Rumor has it the billionaire tycoon has been searching for the perfect space to house all 3000 art works. He found it in an 18th century palace in the pulsing heart of Paris.
Mr. Pinault announced his plans to open the new museum with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo in a press conference where Mayor Anne Hidalgo thanked Mr Pinault.
“This is an exceptional gift,” said Ms. Hidalgo, who was central to the negotiations for creating the new museum, at a news conference. “This is very good news that we have the chance to host the collection.”
The new museum reinforces Paris, already home to some of the world’s greatest art museums like the classically-focused Louvre and the contemporary National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Georges Pompidou, as one of the world’s most important art hubs. Mr. Pinault said he hopes the new institution will “contribute to the image of Paris in a way that’s original and strong.”
The location of the new museum is in a city-central palace that has gone by unnoticed for years. It is the Bourse de Commerce building. The Bourse de la Commerce is a grand, circular structure that is topped with a high glass dome. It was formerly home to an agricultural commodities exchange and, more recently, occupied by the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
The Bourse is situated next to Les Halles, a former wholesale food market that was transformed into an underground mall and transport hub in the 1970s. Les Halles just underwent a renovation, with the installation of a gigantic canopy that houses new cultural spaces such as a library and music conservatory.
The billionaire’s art foundation will take the 19th-century palace under a 50-year lease and begin renovations supervised by a team of architects including Japan’s Tadao Ando. The new Paris museum is slated to open at the end of 2018.