The 10 best art galleries in Paris

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Paris Museum

For centuries, Paris was the undisputed art capital of the Western world. Many pioneering, properly perspective-altering artists lived in Paris over the years – van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Dalí and countless others – and much of their work can be found within the city’s immense number of museums, galleries, attractions, salons and other arts spaces.

Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin

Emmanuel Perrotin founded his first gallery in 1990 at the age of twenty-one. He has worked closely with his roster of artists, some for more than twenty-five years, to help fulfill their ambitious projects. Perrotin has galleries in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, and Shanghai, totaling approximately 7,500 square meters (80,500 square feet) of exhibition space across its ten locations.

Located since 2005 in an eighteenth-century mansion, Perrotin has three gallery spaces totaling approximately 1,600 square meters (17,000 sq. ft.) in the Marais district of Paris. Two years after it opened, the original Paris gallery expanded into its space on Impasse Saint-Claude. In 2014, Perrotin opened a 700-square-meter (7,500 sq. ft.) showroom known as the Salle de Bal, in a former ballroom in the Hôtel d’Ecquevilly, a seventeenth-century hôtel particulier. In June 2020, Perrotin opens a space totaling 70 square meters (750 sq. ft.) on Avenue Matignon in the west of Paris.
In 2021, a new gallery dedicated to secondary market will take a five-storey townhouse, (4,090 square feet, 380 sq. m.) located 8 avenue Matignon nearby Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
In all, the Paris gallery spaces amount to 29,600 square feet (2,750 sq. m.).

The Centre Pompidou

In 1969, President Georges Pompidou decided to provide France with a venue like no other: a centre for art and culture capable of housing both the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, with an international dimension, a large public library (the future Bpi), a centre for industrial creation and a centre for musical research and creation (Ircam), all together in one and the same building situated in the heart of the capital. As great art lovers, the president and his wife were also ardent advocates of the democratisation of art. For Claude and Georges Pompidou, the Centre Pompidou had to be a place where all disciplines could meet, where artists could converse with the public. It also had to support emerging scenes and introduce and provoke debate. The titanic construction works began in May 1972 with two young architects, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, at the helm. Alas, the president died in 1974 before he could see the Centre Pompidou completed. It was inaugurated by his successor Valery Giscard d’Estaing in the presence of his wife Claude Pompidou on 31 January 1977. 

It was an immediate success as soon as it opened. Whether people came out of curiosity, as amateurs or specialists, from close at hand or farther afield, the Centre Pompidou welcomed everyone. The venue saw itself as a “cultural machine” abolishing the frontiers between disciplines and between generations, and quickly became one of the five most-visited monuments in Paris. 

Musée Jacquemart-André

The Institut de France is an institution that was created on 25 October 1795. Today it is under the responsibility of the Chancellor Gabriel de Broglie, who was elected to the Academy of Ethics and Political Science in 1997, to the French Academy in 2001 and who became Chancellor of the Institut de France on 29 November 2005.

The history, composition, activities, and current objectives of the Institute of France make it unique among French institutions. As an institution governed by pluridisciplinarity and patronage, it has been a model abroad.
“Parliament of the Learned” and society of knowledge, the Institute’s main purpose is to bring together the country’s scientific, literary and artistic elites and enable them to work together. This end, i.e., “collect discoveries, perfect the arts and sciences” (Article 298 of the Constitution of Year III) with an encyclopaedic outlook, has been carefully kept in view to the present time.

It groups together five academies which each play a particular role within their own field of expertise :

  • The French Academy (founded in 1635) establishes the accuracy of the French language and is committed to the defence of Francophony,
  • The Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres (founded in 1663) studies classic Antiquity, Orientalism, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance,
  • The Academy of Sciences (founded in 1666) rolls out actions and addresses issues in the field of mathematics, physics, chemistry, natural science, biology, and medicine,
  • The Academy of Fine Arts (created in 1816 by merging the Academy of Painting and Sculpture, the Academy of Music and the Academy of Architecture) reviews and fosters the different arts, and has recently included cinema and audiovisual arts in its field,
  • The Academy of Ethics and Political Science (founded in 1795, abolished in 1803 and re-established in 1835) drawing on the humanities, law, and economics addresses topical societal issues.

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais

We admit that it’s a bit hard to remember our name. We are the “Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais”, or “Rmn-GP” for short. The name might seem complicated but, to put it simply, we are a new public cultural establishment that reports to the Minister for Culture and Communication. The Rmn-GP was set up in 2011 following the merger between the Réunion des musées nationaux and the Grand Palais, hence our name.

Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain

Initiated in 1984 by Alain Dominique Perrin, President of Cartier International at the time, on a suggestion by the artist César, and directed by Hervé Chandès, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is a unique example of corporate philanthropy in France.

Since moving to Paris in 1994, the Fondation Cartier has been housed in an airy building filled with light that was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel. In this unique setting, exhibitions, conferences and artistic productions come to life.

Jeu de Paume

Jeu de Paume has gained an international reputation as an art centre that exhibits and promotes all forms of mechanical and electronic imagery (photography, cinema, video, installation, online creation, etc.) from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It produces and coproduces exhibitions but also organises film programs, symposiums and seminars, as well as educational activities. The Jeu de Paume also publishes a number of art publications each year. With its high profile exhibitions of established, little-known and emerging artists (especially via the Satellite program), this venue ties together different narrative strands, mixing the historic and the contemporary.

Galerie Daniel Templon

Daniel Templon, then 21 years old, founded the gallery in 1966, rue Bonaparte in the district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. First opened under the name Cimaise-Bonaparte in the cellar of an antique dealer, the gallery quickly moved upstairs, before moving in 1972 to the Marais, rue Beaubourg, a few meters from the future Center Pompidou.

The gallery first made itself known through its program around conceptual and minimal art: Martin Barré, Christian Boltanski, Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth, Richard Serra. From the 1970s, the gallery introduced the French public to the great names of American art: Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol. It quickly established itself as one of the reference galleries in the promotion of contemporary art in France.
In 1972, Daniel Templon launched the Art Press magazine with Catherine Millet.

Many artists, who have gone down in history today, have exhibited on the gallery walls. In chronological order: Martin Barré, Christian Boltanski, Joseph Kosuth, Ben, Arman, César, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, Robert Morris, Jules Olitski, Frank Stella, Olivier Mosset, Art & Language, Richard Serra, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Karel Appel, Wilem de Kooning, Helmut Newton, Francesco Clemente, Jörg Immendorff, Julian Schnabel, Lawrence Weiner, Daniel Buren, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Salle, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg , Joel Shapiro, Keith Haring, Peter Halley, James Rosenquist, Robert Longo, Paul Rebeyrolle, Georg Baselitz, Raymond Hains, Eric Fischl, Juan Uslé, Jaume Plensa, George Condo, Ross Bleckner, Chapman brothers, Jim Dine, Richard Long, William Eggleston, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Deacon, Larry Bell, Guillermo Kuitca, Anthony Caro, Pierre and Gilles.
Today the gallery represents around thirty international artists. Its program seeks to promote a dialogue between different generations: established artists of “classical” contemporary art, international mid-career artists, and experiences of young artists.

Musée National Rodin

In 1916, a year before his death, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) bequeathed all his works and possessions to the French state which, in exchange, purchased the Hôtel Biron and committed to turning it into a museum dedicated to the artist. The Paris site opened to the public in 1919, the Meudon site in 1948. The artist’s bequest was the founding act of the Musée Rodin, perpetuating the special bond between a prime location in one of the loveliest gardens in Paris and the work of the most illustrious sculptor of his day.

Rodin’s donation of his works and possessions included his intellectual property rights. The molds and models he bequeathed are used to produce original bronze casts, allowing his work to be disseminated worldwide.

The Musée Rodin is also the holder of the artist’s moral rights and ensures that his rights of paternity and integrity are respected.

Galerie Marian Goodman

Marian Goodman Gallery was founded in New York City in late 1977. In 1995 the gallery expanded to include an exhibition space in Paris and in 2014 an exhibition space in London. In late 2016 she realized her dream of opening a bookstore and project space in Paris.

The London space will close at the end of 2020 as the gallery embarks on Marian Goodman Projects, a new initiative to present exhibitions and artist projects in London and other select cities around the world.

The Artists & Photographs portfolio is one of several critical publications to emerge in the context of Conceptual art.  It was an attempt to show some of the changes in photography set into motion by artists from Warhol and Rauschenberg through to artists like Robert Smithson, Dan Graham, Richard Long, Sol LeWitt, Joseph Kosuth and Jan Dibbets to name a few. 
 
Its cumulative achievement lies in its publication of seminal new works of Conceptual art by Mel Bochner, Dan Graham, Douglas Huebler, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Smithson, among others. The box contained works primarily in and on reproduction, fusing photography and painting.  

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Located within a wing of the Palais de Tokyo and is dedicated to modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries with paintings by renowned artists such as Picasso and Matisse on display.

The Palais de Tokyo was originally constructed for the 1937 World Fair in Paris, but it was only after a bequest by Doctor Maurice Girardin in 1953 that meant the collections had outgrown their original museum space of the Petit Palais.

So, the decision was taken to re-house major art works that were originally presented at the Petit Palais, and eventually the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris was inaugurated on 6th July 1961 within the renovated galleries of the ground floor of the Palais de Tokyo.

It was then during the 1970s that the National Museum of Modern Art was transferred from the Palais de Tokyo to the Pompidou Centre, which is why there are now two museums in Paris with very similar names, but the one at the Centre Georges Pompidou is known purely as the Musee Nationale d’Art Moderne.

Then from the late 1980s there were ongoing restoration works to the building itself plus additional areas were redesigned, such as the basement being turned into a cinema for screening specific videos relating to the collections.