François Pinault

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Small beginnings can lead to very big things. Francois Pinault began his career chopping wood in 1963. He got smart fast, turning this profession into a large timber import/export business. The company floated on the French stock exchange in 1988.
His dedication to art is, thankfully, not a selfish one. Pinault is committed to sharing his collection with the widest number of people possible. He bought a controlling stake in the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2005, for $37 million, and has held multiple exhibitions from his collection there. In 2007, he saw off a challenge from the Guggenheim Foundation, and was selected by the city of Venice to undertake the restoration of the Punta della Dogana. A serious chunk of his personal collection is now permanently housed there.Pinault’s first art purchase was Mondrian’s Tableau Losangique II, which set him back $8.8million. His collection now includes over 2,000 pieces from the contemporary art elite, including Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Agnes Martin, Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly… the list goes on.


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