Francois Pinault

ART ON HOLD: Billionaire François Pinault has decided to push back the opening of his Bourse de Commerce art museum until spring 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The historical building, renovated by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, was originally due to be unveiled in June after several years of renovations. It was completed on March 9 and workers were busy putting the final touches to the venue when France entered its lockdown on March 17.

“Following the announcement of the continuation of the confinement linked to the health crisis and given the uncertainty over when activity can resume, the work necessary for the completion of the Bourse de Commerce cannot be carried out according to the planned schedule,” the Fondation Pinault said in a statement on Friday.

The City of Paris was in the process of completing construction work outside the building. Initially expected to last three months, this phase will now take an estimated eight or nine months due to the social distancing rules that are likely to remain in place once the lockdown is lifted, the institution explained.

The 150,000-square-foot building is in the center of Paris near the newly refurbished Forum des Halles shopping center, and in a neighborhood that is being transformed. The 18th-century building boasts a cupola that is listed as a historical monument. Paul Smith and Lanvin have used it for shows during Men’s Fashion Week here.

In 2005, Pinault, the founder of the PPR retail and luxury empire — now known as Kering — ditched plans to build a private museum to house his art collection on the Île Seguin in Boulogne-Billancourt, southwest of Paris, after the project became mired in red tape.

His decision to showcase the works at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice was seen as a major blow to the French capital’s cultural prestige.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief executive officer Bernard Arnault opened his Louis Vuitton Foundation, a striking art museum on the leafy fringes of Paris, in October 2014.

Pinault made a triumphant comeback, revealing his new project in 2016 at a press conference with Paris mayor Anne Hidago and his son François-Henri Pinault, president of the family holding company Artémis and chairman and chief executive officer of Kering.

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