|Known for||Founder of Kering, Groupe Artémis and Pinault Collection|
(m. 1962; div. 1967)
|Children||3, including François-Henri Pinault|
Pinault started his business in the timber industry in the early 1960s. Taken public in 1988, his company invested in specialty store chains and changed its name to Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). By the end of 1999, PPR shifted towards luxury and fashion. In 2003, he passed on the management of his companies to his elder son François-Henri to follow his passion for contemporary art.
Pinault grew up in the rural French countryside, beginning his career working for his family's timber business. He dropped out of school at the age of 16 from the College Saint-Martin in Rennes. In 1956, he enlisted in the military during the Algerian war. Afterwards, he returned to the family business, which he sold following his father's death.
In 1962, he married Louise Gautier. They had three children: François-Henri, Dominique, and Laurence Pinault. The couple divorced five years later, and in 1970, Pinault married Maryvonne Campbell, an antique trader in Rennes who introduced him to the world of art. His first art purchases date back to this period.
François Pinault started his first business in 1963 as a wood-trading company. Pinault SA grew strongly and diversified its portfolio by acquiring several companies facing bankruptcy, including Chapelle Darblay, to restructure them. On 25 October 1988, Pinault SA was taken public in the Paris stock exchange and started to invest in specialty store chains. He acquired a majority stake in CFAO (enterprise) (specialized distribution in Africa), Conforama (furnishing retailer), Printemps (department store), La Redoute (mail order), and Fnac (books and electronics retailer). Pinault Sa was renamed Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) in 1993.
In 1992, Pinault set up the holding company Artémis to manage the Pinault family's investments. Controlled 100% by Pinault and his family, Artémis controls the French vineyard Château Latour (Bordeaux), Clos de Tart (Bourgogne), Domaine d'Eugénie (Vosne-Romanée), Château Grillet (Rhône Valley), Eisele Vineyard (Napa Valley). Artémis bought the news magazine Le Point in 1997, the auction house Christie's in 1998, and the luxury cruise company Ponant in 2015. Pinault has been the owner of the Rennes football club since 1998.
By the end of century, François Pinault started to shift his business focus from retail to luxury. In March 1999, Pinault-Printemps-Redoute purchased a controlling 42% stake of the Gucci Group for $3 billion, and bought the Yves Saint Laurent company. Pinault then purchased the French jewelry company Boucheron in 2000, Balenciaga in 2001, and the British fashion house Alexander McQueen. In May 2003, he handed over the management of his companies to his son François-Henri who pursued the consolidation of the luxury group with new acquisitions (Brioni, Girard-Perregaux, Pomellato...) and changed the group's name to Kering in 2013.
Pinault bought his first significant painting, Cour de ferme by Paul Sérusier, in 1980. He collected art of the 20th century (Mondrian, Picasso, Man Ray, ...) before following contemporary artists (David Hammons, Rudolf Stingel, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Subodh Gupta, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Donald Judd, Robert Ryman, ...). In 2019, his art collection contained approximately 5,000 works.
In 2005, François Pinault bought the company Palazzo Grassi SpA which operated the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. The Japanese architect Tadao Ando renovated the historical building which housed the first exhibition of Pinault Collection in 2006. One year later, the Venice city council awarded the tender of the Punta della Dogana, which had been abandoned for 30 years, to Pinault Collection, adding 5,000 m² to the Palazzo Grassi space in Venice. Tadao Ando also restored this historical site, which reopened to the public in June 2009. In 2013, Pinault achieved the third chapter of his cultural project in Venice with the renovation and transformation of the Teatrino, an open-air theater in ruins. Designed once again by Tadao Ando, the new Teatrino holds a 225-seat auditorium.
In 2016, Pinault and the city of Paris announced their plan to turn the Bourse de commerce in the center of Paris (1st arrondissement) into a new, Pinault Collection-branded contemporary art museum. Tadao Ando was put in charge of transforming the historic building. The museum opened in May 2021.
In 2014, François Pinault launched, through the Pinault Collection, an artist residency program in Lens (Northern France) which opened in 2015. In 2015, in memory of his friend the writer (and Picasso biographer) Pierre Daix who passed away in 2014, Pinault created the Pierre Daix Prize to reward an outstanding book on modern and contemporary art every year.
In 1990, following a fire in the Paimpont forest in Brittany, Pinault immediately financed the reforestation project. In 2000, he provided a significant financial assistance to help the islands in Brittany affected by the oil spill following the sinking of the Erika.
In 2018, Pinault made a significant contribution to the restoration of Victor Hugo's house, the Hauteville House, in Guernsey. After the Notre Dame de Paris fire on April 15th, 2019, the Pinault family pledged 100 million euros as a donation to the reconstruction works and repairs of the cathedral.
In 2021, he bought the hôtel particulier Hôtel de Cavoye in the 7th arrondissement of Paris for 80 million euros. He is also the owner of the château de la Mormaire (Yvelines), and of the Hôtel de Clermont-Tonnerre and the Hôtel Choiseul-Praslin (Paris).
- 1958: Military Value Cross
- 2006: Breton of the Year by Armor Magazine
- 2006, 2007: Most influential personality in the art world by ArtReview
- 2011: Grand officier de la Légion d'honneur
- 2016: Grand Officer of the Ordine della Stella d'Italia
- 2017: Grand Croix de la Légion d'honneur
- Bothorel, Jean (2003). François Pinault : une enfance bretonne. Paris: Robert Laffont. ISBN 9782221097472. OCLC 56405699.
- Dal Co, Francesco (2009). Tadao Ando for François Pinault: From Ile Seguin to Punta Della Dogana. Mondadori Electa. ISBN 8837069456.
- Anfam, David (2006). Where Are We Going?: Selections from the Francois Pinault Collection. Skira. ISBN 8876247564.
- From timber merchant to corporate axeman, Theguardian.com, 3 April 1990
- "Lunch with the FT: François Pinault". www.ft.com. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Randall, Colin (13 October 2015). "The stylish approach to empire building". The National. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
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- Kamm, Thomas (7 May 1998). "Pinault's Empire Grows, Adding Stake in Christie's". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- "Kering - Evolution Of A Global Luxury Brand Company". Martin Roll. 27 November 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Millar, Rupert (30 August 2017). "France's top 10 richest drinks barons - Page 8 of 11". The Drinks Business. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Tharp, Paul (27 February 2000). "Iron-fisted Frenchman Pinault is fighting Arnault to rule the auction-house world". New York Post. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Roberts, Andrew (27 July 2015). "French Billionaire Pinault Family to Buy Ponant Cruise Ships". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Lyttleton, Ben (15 January 2008). "Rennes come out on top in battle of the bank balances". the Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- TFL (21 January 2020). "Kering: A Timeline Behind the Building of a Luxury Goods Conglomerate". The Fashion Law. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Tagliabue, John (16 November 1999). "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; Gucci Purchases Control Of Yves Saint Laurent". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Jolly, David (22 March 2013). "PPR to Show Breton Roots With Rebranding as Kering". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Adams, Susan (8 December 2006). "The Artful Billionaire". Forbes. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Vansynghel, Margo (21 March 2019). "Un regard sur la collection d'une des figures les plus influentes du monde de l'art". Lecho.be. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Marcus Fairs, Tadao Ando designs arts centre for François Pinault in Venice, Dezeen.com, 24 September 2007
- Volk, Gregory (18 September 2009). "Pinault's Value-Based Initiative". ARTnews.com. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Frearson, Amy (14 October 2013). "The Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi by Tadao Ando". Dezeen. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Martin, Guy (29 April 2016). "The Power of Art: François Pinault's $1.2 Billion-Collection Finds a Home in Paris". Forbes. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Rascouet, Angelina (17 May 2021). "See Pinault's $194 Million Bourse De Commerce, Paris's New Arts Landmark". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- "Louvre goes Lens – and Pinault follows". BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- "Christie's François Pinault creates artist residency in Lens". xamou art. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Scher, Robin (24 November 2015). "Inaugural Winners of Pierre Daix Art Book Prize Announced". ARTnews.com. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- "Pinault to help fund Brittany cleanup". WWD. 11 January 2000. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Harris, Gareth (6 April 2018). "Billionaire François Pinault gives €3m for refurbishment of Victor Hugo's Guernsey home". The Art Newspaper - International art news and events. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Greenberger, Alex (16 April 2019). "Collector François Pinault, Son Pledge $113 M. Toward Rebuilding Notre-Dame Cathedral". ARTnews.com. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- "Francois Pinault & family". Forbes. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Francois Pinault". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
- "Le patrimoine immobilier colossal de François Pinault - Challenges". www.challenges.fr (in French). 6 August 2022. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
- Addley, Esther (14 October 2006). "French tycoon heads art power list". the Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Adegeest, Don-Alvin (18 April 2017). "François Pinault receives France's highest honour". FashionUnited. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Diderich, Joelle (4 November 2016). "Italy Honors François Pinault for Luxury and Art Achievements". WWD. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Weil, Jennifer (18 April 2017). "François Pinault Granted Dignity of the Great Cross in Legion of Honor". WWD. Retrieved 10 September 2022.