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Christie’s Owner Unveils Plans for Private Paris Museum


An artistic rendering of the Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s design for a new museum inside the Bourse de Commerce building in Paris.

Artefactory Lab; Tadao Ando Architect & Associates; NeM/Niney & Marca Architectes; Agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier; Courtesy Collection Pinault – Paris

PARIS — François Pinault’s decades-long battle to place his contemporary art collection here took a leap forward this week when the Japanese architect Tadao Ando unveiled his design to turn a historic rotunda in central Paris into a circular private museum housing the luxury magnate’s collection.

Mr. Pinault, who is one of the world’s top collectors and also owns Christie’s, said the museum would open in early 2019 after a renovation of the Bourse de Commerce, a former grain exchange that was later used as a stock market, and more recently to house the Chamber of Commerce. The building is modeled on the Pantheon and situated between the Louvre and the Pompidou Center, France’s pre-eminent contemporary art museum.

“In creating this new museum, I am writing the next chapter of my cultural project, whose goal is to share my passion for contemporary art with as broad an audience as possible,” Mr. Pinault said at a news conference at the building, which has a glass dome and frescoes representing trade.

Mr. Ando plans to build a circular structure with three levels of galleries inside the round building, which is bound by strict historic preservation norms. It will have 32,000 square feet of exhibition space and an underground auditorium. The museum, which will only showcase contemporary art — including pieces from Mr. Pinault’s collection of more than 3,000 works — will be renovated and run by his family’s company, after a Bourse renovation expected to cost around 108 million euros, or $121 million.

Mr. Pinault, 80, has been trying for years to find a home for his collection in Paris. When his earlier plans were thwarted by red tape, he opened two museum spaces in Venice, the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, both of which were also renovated by Mr. Ando. Paris gave Mr. Pinault the use of the Bourse in 2016 on a 50-year lease.

At the news conference, Mr. Pinault, whose holding company, Kering, includes the Gucci Group, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, took a few implied digs at his crosstown rival, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, created by Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 2014, it relies on state support and on tax breaks for companies investing in art foundations.

“I thought that it should be up to me and my family to make the necessary efforts, and not to ask the state for funding,” Mr. Pinault said.

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said the museum in the Bourse was part of an ongoing urban renewal to give a “new beating heart” to the area adjacent to Les Halles, once the city’s central covered market that in the 1970s was turned into a wildly unpopular underground shopping center. Last year it was topped with a giant yellow canopy in an effort to heal the architectural wound.

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