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François Pinault, artiste, by José Alvarez

José Alvarez

The title is somewhat misleading. It not only deals with the relations between the captain of industry and art – he owns one of the most beautiful collections in the world – but is also a laudatory and critical portrait of a Gallo speaking Breton from Trévérien who built his career with the sweat off his brow. When the American jury of the Executive Life case asked him what he had learned in school, he simply answered “How to speak French.” The tone of the book is unexpected, at times pungent, at others flattering, and shows how he climbed the social ladder starting at a sawmill, continues with the large department stores Conforama and Printemps, then the FNAC, the Rennes Football Club (back in Brittany!), as well as Christie’s, the auction house. His passion for art is obviously dissected: triggered off by the purchase of a first Mondrian under the advice of Marc Blondeau, the saga of Venice then that of the Bourse de Commerce in Paris, his ties with contemporary creators, such as Koons, Hirst or Cattelan. The latter succeeded in designing his tomb against his own will. This passion became consuming with time and was amplified by his second marriage with Maryvonne, who had an antiques shop in Rennes. In the case of this condottiere who succeeds in everything he tries, except to eliminate his fear of death, his love for art is more than a passion, it is a way of seeking immortality.

François Pinault, artiste, by José Alvarez, published by Albin Michel, 2018, 320 p., €23.

François Pinault, artiste, by José Alvarez - José Alvarez

Review published in the newsletter #537 - from 13 December 2018 to 19 December 2018

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