A Caen finalist in the race to host the Gandur Museum, the Swiss billionaire’s extraordinary art collection

Swiss billionaire Jean-Claude Gandur wanted to create a museum to house his impressive art collection. A year ago, seven major French cities competed. According to our information, Caen is among the two finalists.

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The seduction operation, it seems, was a success. According to our information, Caen is one of two major French cities that are still in the process (we don’t know the other one), to host Swiss billionaire Jean-Claude Gandur’s extraordinary museum. The Capital of Lower Normandy may have defeated the piece Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Annecy, Fessenheim, Arles… and Rouen, who are also candidates.

I think we have a quality application“, boasts Joël Bruneau. The mayor of Caen is very proud of the interest shown in his city by the man who made his fortune on oil and owns one of the ten most beautiful private art collections in the world, with hundreds of paintings from different eras, art furnishings and objects from ancient Egypt.

Joël Bruneau welcomes “general mobilization” of all the city actors around the project, “whether political, economic or cultural, they understand the value of hosting an outstanding museum.” than promised by Jean-Claude Gandur. The Caen city councilor also declared himself “in an obvious desire to make a proposal that might interest him“.

To woo members of the Swiss billionaire’s mandated cabinet, Caen aligned two key assets. The first is its location, between the Memorial and Bird Hill. “This is a quality space, ideal for Pak Gandur’s project, which required a museum space in the middle of a large garden. In addition, the area will soon be served by trams“. What’s more, the proximity of Paris and England is an advantage of choice.

The second is the proximity of the Memorial. “The bridge between the two museums is clearly visible, added Stéphane Grimaldi, future Caen founding director. “Mr. Gandur comes to the Memorial very often, moreover there is a bond between his team and us because we have worked together on two exhibitions”.

The first, painting liberation, launched in early 2020, unfortunately stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It includes seventy-five paintings by the Swiss collector, showing the influence of the Second World War on the abstract from 1945 to 1962. A second will be installed next June. Called “The year of pop, the year of surprises”, it will focus on protests and revolutionary movements between the 1960s and 1975.

In addition to the undoubted artistic affinity, there would be many economic and organizational advantages in bringing the two museums together. “There is a clear possibility to collect and operate thrift, this is a defining asset in our candidacy“, notes Joël Bruneau, who can add to his lineage new international equipment that almost fell from the sky. Since the Caen conurbation only needs to develop the land it ceded, the construction of the museum itself will be taken over by the collectors’ foundation.

It was true that the windfall would be great for the duchy which would house one of the ten most important private collections in the world. The 3,500 works, including 850 paintings and 1,200 archaeological works, are mostly Egyptian. “Caen, suddenly, will have one of the most important museums combining fine art, Egyptology, art furniture in France, cried Stephane Grimaldi. Next to the Memorial, it will be a truly unique cultural hub, between history and Art”.

The mystery of the location of the Gandur museum will come to an end in the coming weeks. In late spring, the ultra-wealthy collector’s mandated cabinet will make up its mind and Jean-Marc Gandur will reveal the name of the city that will house his extraordinary collection.

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