Private Paris museum closes

Attendance in Paris museums such as The Louvre (left) has dropped since the Islamist attacks last year.
Attendance in Paris museums such as The Louvre (left) has dropped since the Islamist attacks last year.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • The Paris Pinacotheque, one of France's rare privately owned art museums, closes today, but part of its permanent collection will be relocated to the Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris in Fort Canning Park.

The museum also said it hopes to reopen in a less expensive site in France in a few years.

The Pinacotheque, which has been under court receivership for three months, said that like all Paris museums it had suffered a dramatic drop in attendance following the November shootings in Paris.

Opened in 2007, its two exhibition spaces on the Place de la Madeleine in central Paris mainly ran temporary exhibits with works loaned from other museums or private collections and had a testy relationship with the public French museum world.

"The disastrous economic climate, due to a large extent to the Nov 13 attacks, forces us to close the Madeleine sites in Paris," the museum said in a statement.

Last year's show on Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession attracted nearly 400,000 visitors, according to the museum.

Following the November attacks in which Islamist militants killed 130 people and the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish deli in which 17 people were killed, the Paris tourist industry has suffered.

Preliminary official data released late last month showed that museum attendance in the Paris region had dropped 5 per cent last year. The Louvre, the world's most visited museum, saw visitor numbers drop to 8.7 million from 9.3 million in 2014.

The Pinacotheque's closure prematurely ends an exhibition of photographs by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld which was set to run until the end of next month.

Founder Marc Restellini told Le Monde that as a private museum, the Pinacotheque struggled to compete with state-owned museums, which do not pay rent or value-added tax on their ticket sales.

Major private art museums such as Fondation Maeght in south-east France, Jacquemart-Andre in Paris and the recently opened Paris Louis Vuitton Foundation, are rare in France, where the state runs most top collections.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2016, with the headline 'Private Paris museum closes'. Print Edition | Subscribe