Pinacotheque de Paris museum in receivership but Singapore outpost unaffected

Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris museum, an offshoot of the prestigious private museum in France at Fort Canning Arts Centre.
Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris museum, an offshoot of the prestigious private museum in France at Fort Canning Arts Centre. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - It is business as usual for now at the Singapore outpost of private museum Pinacotheque de Paris, even as its French counterpart has gone into receivership due to high rents and flagging attendance.

The Singapore offshoot, which opened in May, is run by a separate company from the one in Paris.

Art Heritage France, the company that runs the museum in Paris, was placed in receivership last month after museum admission - which at one point reached 1.5 million visitors in a year - fell by 25 per cent over the last two years.

The museum's founder, French art historian, Marc Restellini, told The Straits Times the museum was placed into receivership to protect the French company and allow it to restructure efficiently.

He said: "This is not a bankruptcy at all. This is strictly a management decision."

The museum, founded in 2007, occupies two buildings in the chic Parisian neighbourhood of Place de la Madeleine, known for its luxury boutiques and designer shops.

Rising rents and falling attendance, which Mr Restellini attributes to a weak French economy, however have made the company consider moving the museum elsewhere in Paris. To do so though would mean breaking the lease.

Mr Restellini said that by putting Art Heritage France in receivership, it would be possible to "stop the contract without any damage".

"This is the only way in France, where the protection is very efficient, to help the company restructure," he said.

The restructuring programme also includes development of the museum's licences and establishments worldwide.

The museum in Singapore, which opened in May, is its first international offshoot.

A statement Mr Restellini sent The Straits Times said negotiations are under way for "two other openings abroad, which should be officially announced in the next few months".

The statement also said the restructuring involves "a series of works scheduled for the next few months to improve the quality of the Parisian entity" and ensure it has a consistent line up of exhibitions that can "travel worldwide".

The Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris is run by Art Heritage Singapore, a separate company from Art Heritage France, said Mr Restellini, who is also chairman of the Singapore firm. The company is now headed by deputy chief executive Kirk Ho, after its founding chief executive Suguna Madhavan left the position in October.

Housed in the 5,500 sq m Fort Canning Arts Centre, the museum has received over 30,000 visitors since opening, including visitors to the free-access Heritage Gallery. It focuses on the history of Singapore and Fort Canning and features 119 pieces of artefacts that date as far back as 1,500 BC.

Its permanent Collections Gallery exhibits 43 works of art sourced from private collections, including paintings by Monet and Modigliani.

The Features Gallery, which hosts changing exhibitions, opened with the show The Myth Of Cleopatra. It closed on Oct 11 and no new feature exhibition has been put on since. Mr Restellini, however, says a new show on graffiti, which was exhibited at the Paris museum this year, will open in Singapore next month.