In a city already over-flowing with world-renowned museums, one could justifiably wonder was there room for any more? And yet the past 10 years has seen the opening of not one but two monumental additions to an already rich offering. First came the 2014 opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne, and more recently the much-awaited Pinault Collection opened in 2021 at the Bourse de Commerce overlooking the magnificent Église Saint-Eustache. The original site dates back to the second half of the 16th century when a mansion was built for Catherine de Médicis, the only remnant of which is the observational tower beside the museum’s entrance. Following the demolition of the original building, the city of Paris built a domed corn exchange in the mid-1700s with a central courtyard and a double surrounding staircase, and the core of this structure persists today, despite significant renovations to the building in the 1880s when it became home to the city’s busy commodities exchange. Indeed, one of the most interesting features of the new museum is the panoramic cupola-covering mural completed during this time with colourful scenes of traders and their merchandise from the five continents in the company of sculptures representing the city of Paris along with Trade and Abundance on either side. And there is an abundance of work to contemplate here: the whimsical semi-readymades by Bertrand Lavier in the original wooden display cabinets that punctuate the main wraparound hallway, the interjecting and beyond-real photos of Rudolf Stingel on the 2nd floor, the unflappable, almost nonchalant collection of pigeons (Others by Maurizio Cattelan) perched on the third floor balcony observing all who pass through these halls, not to mention the actual structure of the building itself re-imagined by Tadao Ando. Renowned as a collector of premium art for the past 30 years, François Pinault has been rightfully credited with opening up a whole new perspective in this collection, and the gallery dedicated to David Hammons is worth the trip alone with works that linger long in the memory, like Central Park West, Untitled (2000) and Minimum Security (it may take you several visits to find the key to this work). First-time visitors to the Bourse de Commerce will also be wowed by the unparalleled views of the nearby Église Saint-Eustache from the top floor where a swanky new café-restaurant offers an almost incidental and yet breathtaking vista, a summation of the new Bourse de Commerce itself, a picture-perfect marriage of old and new.
Bourse de Commerce Pinault Collection, 2 rue des Viarmes, 75001. Tel: 01 55 04 60 60.