Explore the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection with concierge Bertrand Kerzreho
November 17, 2022
Reaching for the stars
Because I believe in starting at the beginning, let’s start in the 16th century when a grand palace belonging to Catherine of Medici once stood here. Although the palace was destroyed in the 18th century, a single tall column remains from the original building. This is something that I always point out to guests – it contains a spiral staircase up to the top, built so Catherine’s personal astrologer could consult the stars more easily.
History, trade and architecture
The current round building was designed by architect Nicolas Le Camus de Mézières as a wheat granary in the 1760s. It was capped with its glass dome in 1812, then became the Paris Stock Exchange in 1889. While today it hosts the Pinault Collection, I recommend visiting for the architecture alone – and it’s just a few steps away from Le Meurice.
The Pinault Collection is the work of billionaire businessman François Pinault, owner of one of the largest art collections in the world – he’s been a passionate collector for the last 50 years, after all. To house it and share his love of art with as wide an audience as possible, he transformed the Bourse de Commerce building to create an exhibition space which fuses contemporary art with Parisian heritage.
Tadao Ando’s universe
Japanese architect Tadao Ando was commissioned to carry out the recent renovation project. Its most important aim was to respect the original building while enabling it to fulfil its new functions – so the restoration combines ancient with modern, preserving heritage features and adding contemporary flair. For proof of this in action, look at the nine-metre high concrete cylinder that occupies the heart of the building and echoes its monumental dome.
A mighty mural
As you’re looking up, you’ll also see the 140-metre long mural running around the top of the building. Painted in 1889 during the transformation of the building into the Paris stock exchange, this impressive piece of work took five artists to complete, and represents a folklorist, idealised vision of trade across varied landscapes and seasons. Representative of its historical time period, you’ll notice colonial undertones when you look closer.
The exhibition for this new season brings together summer and winter, the need for the here and now, and the search for the infinite, elusive though it may be. Une seconde d’éternité (A second of eternity) takes visitors on a journey with a series of artworks intended to question visitors’ vision of time and how it’s experienced. It’s on until January 2023.
Time No Longer
In a grand finale to the museum’s A Second Eternity exhibition, artist Anri Sala makes a French premiere with his Time No Longer. These exhibits take over several spaces, including a video screening on the impressive backdrop of the Rotunda’s huge curved walls. The artist’s intention is for visitors to feel the presence of their body in space differently. Prepare for a fresh look at life.
On until January 16, 2023.
Header image courtesy of La Bourse de Commerce – collection Pinault
The original palace hotel in the heart of historic Paris, Le Meurice with its splendid newly-restored rooms and suites is the very epitome of quiet elegance and is alive with the artist's soul of wit and magic.
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