Well, as I learned on the news from France 2 this evening, it's official: as rumored last month (see post on April 23), because of bureaucratic delays, French billionaire François Pinault has officially abandoned his plan to build an incredible new museum to house his collection of modern art. For the details, see Emmanuel de Roux, François Pinault renonce à implanter sa fondation sur l'île Seguin, ancien bastion des usines Renault (Le Monde, May 10). The French blogger Lunettes Rouges expressed what the French probably feel in general (my translation):
I can only feel great bitterness towards our country, unable to hold on to its great patrons or to put its private foundations on solid footing.It's quite a loss, not only for the French, but for all of us who would eventually have gone to see the new museum. Pinault will reportedly do a show at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, but he will have to split up his collection among several smaller museums across Europe.
It is now being reported that the French government, through Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, has offered Pinault the exhibition space in the Palais de Tokyo, as a way to keep some of the collection at least temporarily in France. No word yet from Pinault.