Apr 27, 2016
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French magnate finally finds Paris home for artworks

Apr 27, 2016

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.

François Pinault at the Palazzo Grassi in Venise - AFP

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.

La Bourse du commerce - AFP

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.


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