French stylist Agnès Troublé, better known as Agnès b., has announced that she will open a foundation in Paris in spring 2018 to exhibit her private art collection. “What I can tell you about the building”, she told L’Express, “is that it will be situated within the city in a working class district”.

In 1984, Agnès b. opened the Galerie du jour in Paris where she exhibits contemporary artists and photographers. Since 2009 the “Agnès b. endowment fund” has organised “all [its] activities in the fields of sponsorship, partnership and philanthropy”, as well as the activities of the gallery.

But for the designer, being a gallery owner and a collector remain separate activities. This art lover, who has amassed more than 5000 works, now wants to find a setting for her collection. “I have trust in my instinct and I buy with my heart”, she explained to Télérama in 2015. Photography, contemporary art, street art – Agnès b. buys in galleries and auction houses, stimulated by the people she meets and her enthusiasm for the avant-garde, cinema and distinctive artists.

“My collection is like a great collage”, she says, a patchwork where you will as easily find paintings by Chéri Samba as photographs by Nan Goldin, a drawing by Basquiat, works by Futura. She happily shared this inestimable treasure with the public even before setting up a foundation. “Is a collection a selfish pleasure?” she was recently asked by L’Express. “Absolutely not”, she retorted, “it is to be shared. I have never refused a request for a loan”.

Several exhibitions have also paid tribute to her talents as a collector. In 2015, Un regard sur la collection Agnès b. at the LaM in Villeneuve d’Ascq showed 120 “unusual” works by Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois and Claude Lévêque. The museum listed the many threads that underlie her collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures: “portraiture, the relations between the plastic arts, music and cinema, but also ideas of otherness, identity, counterculture, time and memory”.

Since the beginning of July, an exhibition at the Lambert Collection in Avignon, held as part of the programme Rencontres d’Arles, has offered a new look at this treasure. The director, Eric Mézil, selected 350 of the designer’s works and gave the exhibition the enthusiastic title “On aime l’art…!” It has been visited by such personalities as David Lynch, the photographer Malick Sidibé and Kenneth Anger. This eclectic exhibition offers another side of this eternal art lover to public view.

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