The owner of Christie’s auction house François Pinault is to house his €1.2bn collection of contemporary masters at the Bourse de Commerce in the French capital of Paris in the vicinity of the Louvre. The luxury goods magnate that also is a major shareholder in retailer Kering Group has a collection of modern masterpieces that include works by Jeff Koons, Mark Rothko and Damien Hirst.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who negotiated the deal, told a press conference that Pinault’s deal was “an immense gift” to the people of her city.
Up until now, Pinault has been forced to house his collection in private art galleries in cities including Venice.
The 150,000-square-foot Bourse de Commerce building is in central Paris near the refurbished Forum des Halles shopping centre and is also close to the Pompidou Centre, home to Europe’s biggest contemporary art collection.
Pinault said it was his ambition to contribute to “the brilliance of Paris in an original and strong way”.
Hidalgo added: “It is great to have our captains of industry helping to fly our colours. With this and the Fiac art fair, Paris is regaining its place in contemporary art.”
The magnate handed control of his empire, which includes Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Puma and Balenciaga, to his son François-Henri in 2001.
In the magazine ArtReview’s 2006 list of most powerful people in modern art Pinault was ranked in first place. In last year’s Forbes List of billionaires, he was ranked 65th with an estimated fortune of $13.7 billion.