Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
It used to be Fauchon’s warehouse, a famous grocery shop on Place de la Madeleine, but since January it’s been a museum. A new one. A private one. Behind this miracle: a single man, Marc Restellini.
Photo: Loic Venance, AFP
Photo: Loic Venance, AFP
Marc Restellini is a kind of enfant terrible of the Parisian cultural scene. The academics don’t like him. The civil servants of the cultural institutions even seem to hate him. Why? Because he’s different. Because he’s not obedient. He wants to have fun. He wants, first of all, that others will have fun. That’s why his exhibitions have always been a huge success.
Some 700,000 people have seen the latest Pinacothèque’s exhibition entitled “L’age d’or hollandais” (The Dutch golden age) which gathers some 130 works, half of them from the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. this success meant that he could now open a second, much larger space: la Pinacothèque, which means, in Ancient Greek, the image box. It’s a 3,000 square meter space close to Place de la Madeleine.
The Pinacothèque has just been inaugurated with two exhibitions focussing on the same subject: the birth of a museum. Restellini asks; who conceives a museum and who brings it to life? The answer is simple: the collectors. So the first exhibitions are about how two private collections started by the Romanovs in Russia and the Esterhazys in Hungary became true museums.
In the very heart of the temporary exhibitions visitors can discover the permanent display and collection, which Restellini gathered from different private collections. How does this work? A piece of cake: “I house the paintings of private collectors”, Restellini explains, “I pay the insurance, I protect them, I show them, which the collectors are thankful for, because they want to share their passion.”
Here you can see that Restellini really loves to hang paintings in a very unorthodox way. He juxtaposes artists you don’t expect side by side. A Rembrandt close to a Derain? Why not. It can be inspiring – and sometimes risks looking randomly. In any case you will not remain indifferent. I very much like his comments, which are much more down to earth and sometimes even poetic.
Restellini has actually conceived this museum like a cabinet of curiosities. He really wants to move away from traditional classifications like schools or genres and loves to confront paintings and give them a dialogue. He doesn’t seem to care about the fact that the institutional Paris doesn’t appreciate this. What he cares about is the success and the people coming to see his exhibitions. And they are coming in huge numbers.Pinacothèque de Paris