Paris art gallery Hero

Is Paris the world’s best city for art right now?

Ideal for amateurs and serious collectors alike.

November 2022
Modern art was born in Paris, but recent decades have seen other cities take the lead. Until now. Once again, artists and art connoisseurs are flocking to the French capital. And with such an extensive trove of treasures, Paris now has something for everyone, from the keen amateur to the serious collector.

Passage de Dauphine is a hidden alley between Rue Mazarine and Rue Dauphine in Saint-Germain-des-Près, in Paris’s 6th arrondissement. It’s the kind of place you discover in Paris almost by chance, on the way from the Louvre to Boulevard Saint-Germain.

It used to be a place mainly for residents, or people seeking a popular cozy café, but it now attracts art lovers from around the world. That’s because the alley is now home to one of Paris’s new and innovative galleries: Ketabi Bourdet.

The gallery is special in that it displays contemporary art along with design from the 1980s and ’90s. Artists like Inès Longevial are shown alongside a Robert Wilson chair from 1990.

“As contemporary art and design gallerists, we realized that our collectors were often the same people: design collectors never let their walls stand empty, and art collectors like to furnish their homes with historical or contemporary design. Since we’re passionate about both areas, and we both collect art and design ourselves, it felt only natural to start a gallery containing both,” says Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard.

Ketabi Bourdet Paris
Photo: Ketabi Bourdet.

Each solo show at the gallery covers a designer or an artist, but they mix the two for group exhibitions.

“We bring the art and furniture pieces together into new arrangements, which our collectors like to explore and sometimes recreate in their own homes,” says Ketabi-Lebard.

Art fairs and major galleries

Exciting new galleries opening up in Paris may not exactly come as a shock, but it is quite a development that more and more art connoisseurs are now talking about the French capital as perhaps the most important place for the international art world today.

“Paris today, along with Seoul, is the world’s hottest art metropolis. Major international galleries are opening exclusive branches, young artists are leaving Berlin for the cool suburbs of Paris, and to cap it all the world’s leading art fair, Art Basel is launching Paris+ in the Grand Palais Éphémère,” says Michael Elmenbeck, gallerist and art advisor.

The Paris+ art fair was organized by art fair giant Art Basel for the first time in October 2022, providing firm proof of the city’s rising significance – although there have been other signs too. In recent years, for instance, new art institutions like the Pinault Collection at the Bourse de Commerce have opened, attracting an amazing selection of art-loving tourists and experts alike.

Centre Pompidou

Paris today, along with Seoul, is the world’s hottest art metropolis.

Paris is in many ways the cradle of modern art. Cubism started here, and greats like Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse worked here. Up until the Second World War, Paris was the unchallenged capital of the world of art, and today a visit to the permanent exhibition at Centre Pompidou is like stepping into a living book on modern art history.

Moving back in time, not far away is the Musée d’Orsay, by far the world’s most important collection of impressionist art, and just a stone’s throw from there is the Louvre, probably the most famous art museum of all.

As Paris now also takes the lead in contemporary art, this broadens the array and boosts access to art. Now there really is something for everyone, to an extent Paris has not seen since its heyday.

Art for all tastes

The Pinault Collection is housed in the newly renovated Bourse de Commerce, and just like the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne, it is a constantly changing arena for modern art. One thing you can be sure of when visiting any of these institutions, is that you’ll be seeing art of the very highest class. The Fondation Louis Vuitton, for example, has hosted some incredibly popular exhibitions of modern art from Russian collectors, but as with the Pinault Collection there are also some of the biggest names in contemporary art, such as Philippe Pareno, Ugo Rondinone, Marina Abramovic and Yayoi Kusama.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

It’s also a great idea to choose an area and visit a variety of different galleries and museums. In the previously mentioned Saint-Germain-des-Près, for example, is the renowned Kamel Mennour gallery, but the area is also packed with ‘primitive’ art and antiques – and you can also hunt down the picturesque Rue de Furstemberg and visit the Eugène Delacroix museum.

An afternoon spent in Marais can take you to the well-known Perrotin gallery, which has grown into an international institution since starting in 1990, and to Sans Titre, which helps artists at the beginning of their careers. If you have children, a visit to the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (the hunting and nature museum) is recommended, with its mixture of stuffed animals, objects and hunting-related paintings, while the newly renovated Carnavalet Museum is a must for lovers of Paris history and classical art.

Also, spread around Paris, are former artists’ homes that are now museums. Favorites include the Musée Zadkine, a tranquil oasis just south of the Luxembourg Garden, and the Musée Gustave Moreau, a bombastic monument to an artist whose esthetic today feels almost kitschy.

Musée de la chasse et de la nature Paris
Photo: Musée de la chasse et de la nature.

It is this sheer variety that makes the Paris art scene, and the range of art it has to offer, perhaps the best in the world. Within just a few hundred meters you can see some of the most important works in art’s history, visit an art fair, and explore new hybrid galleries on small backstreets. Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard agrees.

“Paris is becoming the most important gathering-place for the art world in Europe. Art Basel, a great many galleries of the highest class, and the emergence of a new generation of galleries like us are all proof of this. France is an incredibly dynamic stage with serious, important collectors, and major museums, foundations and biennials. The art scene is flourishing, and artists from around the world are coming to Paris to work and study. All these factors are aligning to bolster Paris’s position on the international scene day by day,” Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard concludes.

Addresses:

Ketabi Bourdet
22 Passage Dauphine, 6th arrondissement

Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection
2 Rue de Viarmes, 1st arrondissement

Centre Pompidou
19 Rue Beaubourg, 4th arrondissement

Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 7th arrondissement

Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Av. du Mahatma Gandhi, 16th arrondissement

Kamel Mennour
47 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 6th arrondissement

Musée Eugène Delacroix
6 Rue de Furstemberg, 6th arrondissement

Musée Gustave Moreau
14 Rue Catherine de La Rochefoucauld, 9th arrondissement

Musée Zadkine
100bis Rue d'Assas, 6th arrondissement

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
62 Rue des Archives, 3rd arrondissement

Perrotin
76 Rue de Turenne, 3rd arrondissement

(sans titre)
13 Rue Michel le Comte, 3rd arrondissement

Musée Carnavalet
23 Rue de Sévigné, 3rd arrondissement

Text by Daniel Björk

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