France's richest man to give arts centre to Paris

2nd October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 2, 2006 (AFP) - The founder of the luxury goods empire LVMH and France's richest man, Bernard Arnaud, announced Monday his plans for a contemporary arts centre in Paris.

PARIS, Oct 2, 2006 (AFP) - The founder of the luxury goods empire LVMH and France's richest man, Bernard Arnaud, announced Monday his plans for a contemporary arts centre in Paris.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation will occupy a portion of the Jardin d'Acclimation in the Bois de Boulogne in the city's western periphery, and will be the city's first such space dedicated to contemporary art.

"The goal of this foundation is to spread the influence of culture, and spread the influence of France," the luxury goods tycoon said at a news conference attended by the mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe and Minister of Culture and Communication Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

The 65,000 square-foot foundation will be designed by Frank Gehry, the Canadian-American architect behind the ultra-modern Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the futuristic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

At its helm will be Suzanne Page, currently director of the City Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

"We will place contemporary art in the context of modern and classical art," Arnaud said.

The project recalls an attempt five years ago by Arnaud's business rival, François Pinault, founder of the luxury brand PPR and owner of Christie's, to bring a contemporary arts space to Paris.

Pinault abandoned the project last year after complaining about administrative delays. He went on to acquire the Palazzo Grassi, in Venice, which he reopened as a contemporary art gallery last spring.

An avid arts patron who regularly finances some of Paris' largest exhibitions, Arnaud's personal collection includes American artist Ellsworth Kelly's 1968 abstract painting, Red White Blue, which he acquired in 2001 for a record sum of US $1.4 million (EUR 1.1 million).

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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