Singapore ‘Pinacothèque de Paris’ Could have a Similar Fate to its French Counterpart

Opened almost a year ago at the end of May, Singapore ‘Pinacothèque de Paris’ is the city state first Western Art private art museum. The art gallery is located in the refurbished Fort Canning Arts Centre, a fine 19th century structure dominating Singapore City Centre from a hill and thoroughly renovated from 2012 to 2014.

The Singapore Pinacothèque is divided into three main galleries: a Heritage one -with free access to the public- showing Fort Canning history and heritage; A Permanent Collection Gallery featuring 40 original masterpieces, many loaned from private collectors and never seen before in Asia. Masterpieces of Modigliani, Rembrand, Monet, Tintoretto, Pollock, Picasso are being confronted to pieces of art from Southeast Asia.  In addition, the museum will be holding temporary exhibitions in its Features Gallery.

Unlike its French offshoot, the Singapore Pinacothèque features interactive displays, as well as an art academy which seeks to engage the public in cultivating an interest in the arts.

Strangely, the Singapore branch of the Pinacothèque is now the only representative of the French private museum . The Paris offshoot was forced to close earlier this year as the museum suffered a dramatic drop in attendance with visitor numbers plummeting following November deadly shootings in the French capital. The private museum had been under court receivership for three months. The museum management indicated to now look for a new -and less expensive- location but it could take a couple of years before its reopening.

Until a potential reopening in Paris, part of the permanent collection of Western Art is supposed to be transfer to Singapore. However, it seems that the Singaporean branch ambitions of putting together Western and Asian arts might also derail due to financial difficulties. The Pinacotheque might finally experience a similar fate to its French counterpart. The Permanent Gallery has been closed officially for a ‘revamp’ since February.

However, art business circles evocate the fact that the Art Gallery has not been able to attract a public so far and has been losing money since it opened. High prices probably deterred possible visitors to stroll around the 5,500 m2 building to admire the collections and exhibitions.

Tickets to the gallery were priced between S$11 and S$28, depending of the temporary exhibition. From June to early December, the Pinacothèque welcomed over 30,000 visitors, a rather disappointing figure. Translated into monthly or daily figures, that would translate into only 5,000 visitors each month or 165 visitors per day on average. According to media in Singapore, the Pinacothèque managing company “Art Heritage Singapore” has been brought to court in early March due to payment defaults to its suppliers…