Billionaire debuts art collection

May 1, 2006 at 1:19 PM
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VENICE, Italy, May 1 (UPI) -- Billionaire art collector Francois Pinault has moved part of his collection for a first public exhibition in Venice, after failing to build a museum in Paris.

Pinault, who owns department stores as well as Christie's, Gucci and Yves St. Laurent, has some 2,500 contemporary art works but said he abandoned plans to create his Paris museum because of red tape. Instead he has taken over the Palazzo Grassi on Venice's Grand Canal to showcase 200 works from his collection, according to The New York Times.

The show includes works by Picasso, Miro, Picabia, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Mark Rothko, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Lucio Fontana and Cindy Sherman. Pinault began collecting 30 years ago and plans to set up a network of exhibitions around Europe, the newspaper said.

He says in the show's catalogue that his original need to possess great art has been transformed into a desire to share his huge collection.

He told the Times he plans a show of his video and other new-media works in Lille, France, in February, and may also take over an old customs building at the Punta della Dogana in Venice.

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