It’s not often we get a new museum in Paris, and rare we get one as spectacular as the Bourse de Commerce. Located in the entirely round, 18th-century building in the 1st arrondissement that once housed France’s Commodities Exchange, the Bourse de Commerce reopened in 2021 as a contemporary sculpture museum.
Subtitled the Collection Pinault, it displays the massive, cutting edge collection of French billionaire François Pinault. Though it’s grotesque that anyone can afford to buy so much art, not to mention the space to exhibit it, it’s wonderful to see these works made accessible to the public (though the 14€ full price fee is steep).
Stepping into the luminous gallery, the sculptures could be overpowered by the imposing scale. But these are bold pieces, their presence only heightened by the grandeur of the space. A series of circular galleries wrap around the central atrium, each artist’s collection flowing into the next. The largest, most striking sculptures are scattered in the atrium itself, beneath a soaring glass ceiling high above.
The works themselves often change, so something new is likely to be on display when you visit. When I was there recently, I was transfixed by a room dotted with Roni Horn glass sculptures; large, hollow lozenges of blue and green glass, the sides rough like sea glass and the tops filled to the absolute brim with clear water. At first, I wasn’t even sure if they were vessels or exquisitely polished solid structures. Strings of warm light bulbs were suspended over the scene, and it was only through their refracted glow on the surface that I came to realise it was perfectly still liquid.
These round glass treasures, with their subtle plays of texture, weren’t just the most moving sculptures I had seen in a long time. They were the perfect encapsulation of what the structure of the Bourse de Commerce itself has become: a stunning round object, filled with unexpected beauty.
xx la Muséophile
La Bourse de Commerce- Pinault Collection, 2 rue de Viarmes, 75001 Paris, métro: Louvre-Rivoli (line 1) or Les Halles (line 2)
Full rate 14 euros, reduced rate 10 euros, some categories free
Opening hours: Every day except Tuesday: 11am to 7pm, to 9pm Fridays