Paris Pinacotheque will open $42m outpost in Singapore

The Art Newspaper
Monday, 27 May, 2013

Offshoot of Parisian private museum bringing Old Masters and Modern art to a pop-up space from September, before opening permanent home in historic Fort Canning building

The Singapore government is due to announce next week (28 May), that it will open an offshoot of the Parisian private museum Pinacothèque, owned and run by the academic and Modigliani scholar Marc Restellini. Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris will bring Old Masters and Modern art exhibitions to Singapore, initially in a “pop-up” space, from September, during renovations to its eventual home, the historic Fort Canning building in the arts district of the city.


“The Singapore government has partnered with the private sector, the Singapore Tourism Board and the National Parks to redevelop the building into an arts centre with Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris as the anchor,” says a government spokesman.

The Pinacothèque has been a surprise hit in France where such for-profit museums are virtually inexistent. Located on a corner of the Place de la Madeleine, it has held a series of popular exhibitions, such as “The Dutch Golden Age” ( October 2009-February 2010) in association with Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, which attracted 700,000 visitors, or the more provocative “Giacometti and the Etruscans” the following year. In 2011, the institution expanded into a former Habitat shop to show about 100 works loaned by collectors, including some from a Dutch couple, for “George and Ilone Kremer: Heirs of the Dutch Golden Age” (October 2011 -March 2012). Asked if he would be willing to see his works exhibited in Singapore, Georges Kremer said: “Absolutely! I had a very good experience when my collection was shown at the Pinacothèque in Paris.”

Other lenders are anonymous, as are the backers of the institution. It has been reported that the budget for the Singapore venture is about $24m but this was not confirmed by the Singaporean authorities.

In France, Restellini is a divisive figure who has a difficult relationship with the French museum establishment; while some admire his entrepreneurship, others criticise him for populism or for potential conflicts of interest. He has been working on the Modigliani catalogue raisonnée for years.