Opening and Reopening of Two Major Art Institutions: Fondation Louis Vuitton and Musee Picasso

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.

Fall 2014 in Paris has been abuzz with anticipation of an opening of a new major art institution and a long awaited re-opening of a favorite Paris museum. 

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Bernard Arnault, CEO of Louis Vuitton, and one of the richest men in France with an estimated fortune of $60 billion, spent 13 years realizing his dream of opening a private museum in Paris. Arnault chose world-famous American architect, Frank Gehry, who also designed the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Walt Disney Opera House in Los Angeles, to fulfill his vision of the Fondation Louis Vuitton

The striking building located in the peaceful Bois de Boulogne Park on the outskirts of Paris has 12 architectural sails with 3,600 glass panels, nicknamed “the iceberg”. Gehry took inspiration for the design from the Grand Palais, the massive glass structure from the 1900 Paris Worlds Fair. It took 100 engineers and 3,000 workers to complete the complicated and complex design. The inside contains 13,000 square feet of exhibition space with 11 galleries. The galleries will mostly feature works borrowed from Arnault’s highly regarded and extensive private collection. The final estimated cost of the project was 143 million euros. 

The building of the museum came with controversy as many local residents protested that it would remove precious green space from the pristine parkland. Although it is a private museum, it was donated to the city for 50 years. 

After five years and extensive delays, the Picasso museum has reopened its doors. Originally launched in 1985 in a then-abandoned and dilapidated former 17th century palace once owned by salt tax collector, the museum became a big tourist attraction and helped transform the run down Marais area into one of the most desirable areas of the city. 

After Picasso’s death in 1973, the family donated over 5,000 works to the state in lieu of paying inheritance taxes. 

The reopening on October 25 was timed for Picasso’s birthday and President Hollande was present at the festivities. 

The renovation cost 52 million euros and the museum has now tripled its exhibition space by moving the offices and administration to an alternate building. It houses the largest collection in the world of Picasso’s work. 
 
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Ave. du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 75116 
Open everyday except Tuesday 
Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday 12PM-7PM
Friday till 11PM
Saturday & Sunday 11AM-8PM
http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/en.html

Musee Picasso 
5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003
Open Tuesday to Friday 11:30AM-6PM, Saturday & Sunday 9:30AM-6PM 
http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/

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