French magnate finally finds Paris home for artworks

Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:57am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article
[-] Text [+]

By Laetitia Volga

PARIS (Reuters) - French luxury goods magnate Francois Pinault is finally achieving his ambition of opening a museum in Paris to house his vast private art collection a decade after he ditched previous plans over red tape and opened a gallery in Venice instead.

Pinault, a self-made billionaire who soon turns 80, is considered one of the world's biggest collectors of modern art with some 3,000 works produced by the likes of Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami.

The museum, to be located at the Bourse de Commerce building, a former grain exchange in a part of Paris synonymous with a bygone era of inner-city food wholesale markets, is set to open in 2018 under a deal with the city.

Creating a home in Paris for his art was a long-held dream of Pinault, France's eighth richest man who holds a controlling shareholder of auction house Christie's.

But he abandoned previous plans to build a museum on the western outskirts of the city after disagreements with authorities over planning and opened one in Italy instead.

In 2014, Pinault's arch-rival, LVMH boss Bernard Arnault and France's richest man, realized his own dream of opening an art museum outside Paris, the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Pinault senior, who sparred with Arnault for ownership of flagship fashion brands such as Gucci, has handed much of his day-to-day tasks to his son Francois-Henri, now head of the Kering business.

"We're in this for several generations with my brothers and sisters," said the younger Pinault, when he, his father and the Paris mayor announced the deal to journalists on Wednesday.

(Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Alison Williams)

French businessman Francois Pinault (C) poses with his son Francois-Henri Pinault (L), CEO and Chairman of the board of directors of Kering, and his grandson Francois Pinault (R) after a news conference to announce plans for Paris art museum, at the Town hall in Paris, France, April 27, 2016.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau