The Pompidou Centre (Centre Georges Pompidou) is an arts complex in Paris containing the French National Museum of Modern Art, Europe’s largest modern and contemporary art museum. It also houses a large public library and a centre for music and acoustic research known as ICRAM. It is celebrated as a home of cutting-edge art and creativity and contains both exhibition and performance spaces.
The Pompidou Centre is the third most visited site in France after the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower and annually attracts more than 3.5 million visitors.
Since its opening in 1977 it has had over 150 million visitors. The National Museum of Modern Art holds a collection of over 60,000 works of modern and contemporary art, the largest in Europe and one of the finest in the world. Its current chairman is the former French government director of media development Alain Seban, working with the managing director Agnès Saal.
History and foundation
The National Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1947 and housed in its original home the Palais de Tokyo (which now contains the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris). In 1977 it moved to the newly-built Pompidou Centre, the brainchild of former French president George Pompidou who sought to create a new creative institution dedicated to all forms of modern and contemporary art. In 1970 an international competition was organised to design this new building in the heart of Paris.
The winning architects were the Italian Renzo Piano and the British Richard Rogers, who proposed a constraint-free architecture in the spirit of the 1960s. The supporting structure and movement and flow systems, such as the escalators, were relegated to the outside of the building, thereby freeing up interior space for museum and activity areas.
It opened its doors to the public in 1977, instantly becoming one of the world’s most famous examples of modern architecture. It was last closed for renovation between 1997 and 1999 before re-opening in January 1, 2000.
Departments and collections
The museum’s permanent collections can be divided into two separate sections; modern art (1905 – 1960) and contemporary art (1960 – present).
The contemporary art collection illustrates contemporary movements such as op-art, pop art, art brut, conceptual art and minimalism. It features work by sculptors including Armand Fernandez, Cesar Baldaccini, Niki de Saint-Phalle and Joseph Beuys, printmakers such as Andy Warhol, assemblage artists like Jean Dubuffet and Louise Bourgeoise, and painters such as Victor Vasarely and Robert Rauschenberg.
The Pompidou Centre contains some of the most famous and notorious works of modern and contemporary art. The most notable include Marcel Duchamp’s revolutionary urinal sculpture Fountaine, a large collection of works by Picasso, Jean Dubuffet’s painting Lively Place and work by the celebrated photographer Richard Avedon.
The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.
Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.
Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.