The collector’s gaze

The collector’s gaze

Francois Pinault

For almost 50 years, with passion and dedication, François Pinault has amassed a contemporary art collection that is one of the largest in the world. We take a look at his unique journey and his collector’s gaze.

A collection of over 10,000 works devoted to contemporary art

It was in the early 1970s that François Pinault first took an interest in art with the painters of the Pont-Aven School. In 1972, he acquired a painting by Paul Sérusier, Cour de ferme en Bretagne, which in his own words, became the “talisman” of a nascent collection. The discovery of the Nabis led him to Cubism and the avant-gardes of the 20th century, and later to abstraction, minimalism and finally to the most contemporary forms of art, all currents and media combined: painting, video, sculpture, photography, installation and performance. For François Pinault, fascinated by the art of his time, the construction of a collection has provided him with the opportunity to forge strong and faithful relationships with the artists whose works he has collected over a period of many years.

Paul Sérusier, Cour de ferme en Bretagne, 1891
Paul Sérusier, Cour de ferme en Bretagne, 1891

François Pinault’s career as a collector is as unique as his entrepreneurial success. Born in 1936, he grew up in Trévérien, a village in Ille-et-Vilaine, in Brittany. After leaving school at the age of 16, he started working, first in the family sawmill, and then in 1962, he created his first company specializing in the timber trade. This company developed to become one of the largest groups in the sector. The entrepreneur then began to focus on specialized distribution activities and moved into the luxury goods sector in 1999. The group, now known as Kering, is one of the world leaders in the luxury industry, and has been directed by François’s son, François-Henri, since 2003.

The collection brings together the works of all generations of artists, emerging talents and recognized names, coming from a wide range of cultures and origins. It is also a manifesto of the diversity of themes that underline and inspire the art of our time, in particular the often highly committed approaches to political, social, and racial and gender issues. The collection is presented to the public through hangings and exhibitions that are regularly renewed in the various museums of the Pinault Collection, and through exceptional loans and a programme of off-site events in partner institutions, both in France and abroad.

 

“Sharing with the public the questions that art raises and asks us—this is the very sense of the cultural project I have initiated.” - François Pinault

Tapis d'oeuvres

 

 

 

 

 

 

A forever evolving cultural project

Begun in 2006, in Venice, with the inauguration of the Palazzo Grassi, followed in 2009, with the opening of the Punta della Dogana and the Teatrino, François Pinault added to his cultural project with the development of an artist residency programme in Lens in 2013, and the creation of a prize dedicated to art history—the Pierre Daix Prize. Furthermore, an active policy of loans and off-site exhibitions has been in place since 2007, in collaboration with a network of regional and international museums. The opening of the Bourse de Commerce is a new step towards François Pinault’s mission of sharing art with the public.

“For a long time, I have cherished the hope of one day presenting my collection in the city I love—Paris.”

“This is why the opening of the Bourse de Commerce - Pinault Collection is of significant and symbolic importance on a personal level. While scrupulously following the historical landmarks of the building, Tadao Ando has designed a project that reconciles radicalness and simplicity in a single gesture. He has succeeded in the feat of creating a new world within this edifice. A world that is respectful of the past, yet one that is capable of celebrating the present and embracing the future.” François Pinault