February 13, 2016 / 6:00 PM / a year ago

Paris Pinacotheque museum closes as visitor numbers drop post attacks

3 Min Read

PARIS (Reuters) - The Paris Pinacotheque, one of France's rare privately owned art museums, will close on Monday as visitor numbers have plunged following the November shootings in Paris.

The Pinacotheque, which has been under court receivership for three months, said that like all Paris museums it had suffered a dramatic drop in attendance.

Opened in 2007, the Pinacotheque's two exhibition spaces on the Place de la Madeleine in central Paris mainly ran temporary exhibits with works loaned from other museums or private collections and had a testy relationship with the public French museum world.

"The disastrous economic climate due to a large extent to the Nov. 13 attacks forces us to close the Madeleine sites in Paris," the museum said in a statement.

Last year's show on Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession attracted nearly 400,000 visitors, according to the museum.

Following the November attacks in which Islamist militants killed 130 people and the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish deli in which 17 people were killed, the Paris tourist industry has suffered.

Preliminary official data released late January showed museum attendance in the Paris region had dropped 5 percent last year. The Louvre, the world's most visited museum, saw visitor numbers drop to 8.7 million from 9.3 million in 2014.

The Pinacotheque will close on Monday evening, prematurely ending an exhibition of photographs by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld which was set to run until the end of March.

The museum said it hopes to reopen in a less expensive site in a few years, adding that part of its permanent collection - made up mainly from private collector's loans - would be partly relocated to the Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris.

Founder Marc Restellini told Le Monde that as a private museum the Pinacotheque struggled to compete with state-owned museums, which do not pay rent or value-added tax on their ticket sales.

Major private art museums such as Fondation Maeght in southeast France, Jacquemart-Andre in Paris and the recently opened Paris Louis Vuitton Foundation, are rare in France, where the state runs most top collections.

On its website, the Pinacotheque offered a 50 percent reduction on all items in its gift shop until Monday evening, but displayed no clear announcement that the museum would be closed and its online ticket booking was open on Saturday.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq, editing by David Evans

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