Jean Pigozzi's collection of contemporary African art settles in Cannes

Heir to the Simca automobile company, it was in 1989, with the exhibition "Les Magiciens de la Terre" that Jean Pigozzi made a decision: he would collect contemporary African art, and asked the gallery owner André Magnin - curator of the exhibition - to help him in this task.

Jean Pigozzi is now considered the owner of the most important collection of contemporary African art in the world, part of which was presented in 2017 at the Fondation Vuitton, as part of the exhibition "Les Initiés".


Although the collection now includes over 10,000 works by more than 160 artists, it has not had a dedicated space until now. In 2019, Jean Pigozzi donated 45 pieces of modern African art to MoMA. Today, on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition "Bande-annonce, la collection Pigozzi à Cannes" curated by Jérôme Neutres and Elisabeth Whitelaw, the mayor of the city, David Lisnard, announced that thousands of works would be donated by the collector to the city, and presented in a new art centre, within the former deconsecrated chapel of Saint-Roch in Le Suquet, in the historic heart of Cannes. 


"Our idea is to propose a new, more fluid form of museum, where things move and change every year, so as to motivate visitors to return," explains Sous la Jean Pigozzi, who will be in charge of the artistic direction of the place.


The space will be organised around a 380 m2 "permanent exhibition" circuit that changes every year and presents a panorama of contemporary African art, a 240 m2 "temporary exhibition" circuit with regular focuses on an artist or a theme, and a 100 m2 multifunctional space open to all to host conferences, Artistic and Cultural Education activities and screenings. The latter space also has an educational dimension. It is a real resource centre for archives and documents (paper and audiovisual) on contemporary African art and the history of the Pigozzi collection.


The Jean Pigozzi collection includes works by Seyni Awa Camara, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Romuald Hazoumé, Seydou Keïta, Chéri Samba and Barthélémy Toguo.


Cover Image : Seyni Awa Camara, Sans Titre (1999) — courtesy The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection & Galerie Magnin-A