10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries in Paris
To a lot of people, Paris is still the City of Art. We all have this phantasmagoric image of the bohème life at the turn of the 20th century, from Toulouse Lautrec’s Montmartre to Picasso’s Bateau Lavoir.
But to tell you the truth, after WWII, Paris gradually lost its status as the international capital of the Arts to the bustling (and richer) city of New York. The artistic scene in the City of Light wasn’t all that exciting for quite a while, but a bit over a decade ago now, the Parisian art market finally caught its second wind.
The biggest galleries in the contemporary art world are once again opening exhibition spaces in Paris and some French entrepreneurs have emerged on the international scene. New galleries and artist-run spaces appear every month, which is wonderful, but it’s becoming hard to know where to go to see the best art in town!
To make it easy for you, here are the Paris art galleries you absolutely must visit. Scroll down to read why each made our Top 10.
- David Zwirner
- Galerie Daniel Templon
- Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
- Marian Goodman Gallery
- Galerie Karsten Greve
- Jousse Entreprise
- Galerie Kamel Mennour
- Gagosian Gallery
We’ve broken down this list by neighborhood and included everything from the more established art spaces to the edgier new arrivals. We’ve even added a map of the best art galleries in Paris to help you find them!
The density of art in Le Marais makes it hard to pick only a few spots. More than half of our selection of galleries is located in this maze of charming streets, in between the Centre Pompidou and Place des Vosges. So put on a pair of comfy sneakers — preferably the latest Balenciaga model, you’re in one of the hippest neighborhoods of Paris! — and get ready for an intense afternoon of gallery hopping!
Emmanuel Perrotin is the cherished child of the Parisian contemporary art scene. Starting with his first ‘gallery’ in his own tiny apartment in 1990, he now has 18 monumental spaces around the world!
His current Paris galerie is no longer in a small studio, but in an elegant hôtel particulier that quickly fills with rich collectors and artsy Parisians every Saturday afternoon. Known for his taste for pop and provocative artists, Perrotin represents international superstars like JR, Takashi Murakami, and Maurizio Cattelan, as well as artists with a more conceptual approach including Elmgreen & Dragset and Laurent Grasso.
2. David Zwirner
David Zwirner, voted most powerful figure of the art world by Artreview in 2018, opened a new space in Paris on October 16, 2019.
Son of an art dealer from Cologne, Zwirner has been in the business himself for more than a quarter-century. Although he’s currently building a five-story gallery designed by Renzo Piano in New York, he also decided to invest in Paris, settling into the mythical premises that used to host the Galerie Yvon Lambert.
Parisians will now be able to enjoy shows by some of the greatest figures of our time, such as Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, and Kerry James Marshall, not to mention the artworks from the estates of Paul Klee, Donald Judd, and Diane Arbus.
3. Galerie Daniel Templon
Daniel Templon is the patriarch of the Parisian gallerists! After opening his first gallery in 1966, he moved shop in 1972, settling down right next to the not-yet-built Centre Pompidou, where his gallery remains today. First making a name for himself for introducing major figures of American art such as Ellsworth Kelly or Willem de Kooning to the French market and launching France’s best Art magazine, Art Press in the 1970s, Templon has managed to stay relevant in the ever-changing art landscape for more than 50 years now.
His current program aims to promote a dialogue between generations. He represents established French artists like Viallat and Ben but also international rising stars, like Kehinde Wiley, who painted Barack Obama’s official portrait, and Chiharu Shiota, whose monumental woven yarn installations are rapidly entering major collections all around the world.
Galerie Daniel Templon
30 Rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris
Galerie Daniel Templon
28 Rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare, 75003 Paris
Metro Rambuteau or Etienne Marcel
4. Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Thaddeus Ropac grew up far from the art world, in the South of Austria. Fascinated by contemporary creation, he started as Joseph Beuys’s assistant at age 22, where he was introduced to Warhol and Basquiat, quickly becoming their gallerist in Europe.
Ropac now has galleries in London, Paris, and Salzburg, representing the estates of legendary artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as some of the most influential artists of our time, including Gilbert & George, Antony Gormley, Alex Katz, and Erwin Wurm.
In 2013, he also opened a gigantic space in Pantin in the northeast of Paris.
5. Marian Goodman Gallery
One of the rare women leading an international gallery, Marian Goodman is a grande dame of American Art. Known for her discretion and her exceptional judgment, at 91, she is still one of the most powerful figures of the art world.
Goodman opened her first gallery in New York in 1977, introducing many Europeans artists to the US market, including Gherard Richter and Michael Broodthaers. In 1999, she opened a permanent space in Paris and has since represented artists whose works are both conceptually and aesthetically exceptional, such as Nan Golding, Christian Boltanski, William Kentridge, Steve McQueen, Annette Messager, and many more.
6. Galerie Karsten Greve
Karsten Greve debuted his career as a gallerist with an exhibition of Yves Klein in 1973. That first show pretty much set the tone for the exceptional programming of his gallery which represents some of the most sensible post-war and contemporary artists, such as Louise Bourgeois, Jannis Kounellis, Lucio Fontana, and Cy Twombly.
If you’re a bit intimidated by conceptual and provocative art, Greve’s gallery is the perfect place to start your journey into contemporary art. The gallery focuses on pretty classical media of expression such as painting, sculpture, and photography.
7. Jousse Entreprise
There aren’t only Mastodons in the Marais. The narrow cobblestone streets also host a dense network of smaller galleries, including gems like Jousse. Even though the gallery was founded back in 2001, it’s still considered an emerging gallery — or rather a gallery for emerging artists.
We definitely recommend Jousse’s carefully curated selection of artists, from Tim Eitel’s figurative paintings to Clarisse Hahn’s use of film and photography to research behavioral codes and the social role of the body.
And if you’re up for venturing out of the Marais, Philippe Jousse also runs a beautiful design gallery located in the Quartier Latin.
After spending eight years in the Belleville neighborhood, Guillaume Sultana brought his gallery back to Le Marais in 2022.
Sultana is probably the most daring gallerist on the Parisian art landscape: his visual identity definitely breaks with the very status-conscious design choices of other galleries, his quality selection of artists is impressively diverse, and he has a hunger to burst open the doors of this very closed world — he’s also one of the founders of the Paris International Art Fair, aiming to offer visibility to galleries who can’t get into the incredibly expensive FIAC. Our favorite artist among his roster? Jean Claraq, the rising star of French painting.
Even though Paris’s Latin Quarter is the cradle of Modern Art, most contemporary art galleries have deserted the area, leaving it to Extra-European, Ancient Art, and design dealers. A few gallerists, though, like Vallois and Loevenbruck, refuse to abandon this neighborhood that’s overflowing with history. While their galleries are definitely worth a visit, here, we’re focusing on our favorite among this resistant crew.
9. Galerie Kamel Mennour
Kamel Mennour is a prodigious art dealer. The way he convinced superstars of photography like Annie Leibovitz or Larry Clark to exhibit in his tiny space back at his beginnings is now legendary.
A reference for emerging art, Mennour also collaborates with superstars like Anish Kapoor, Martin Parr, and Daniel Buren.
Galerie Kamel Mennour
47 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
Metro Odéon or Saint-Michel
Galerie Kamel Mennour
6 Rue du Pont de Lodi, 75006 Paris
Metro Odéon or Pont Neuf
This very chic Paris neighborhood was mainly devoted to 20th-century art until Larry Gagosian decided to open a three-story gallery on Rue de Ponthieu. A few others, like Lelong and Kamel Mennour have followed suit, opening secondary spaces in the area, but Gagosian’s gallery remains the main artistic attraction in this golden corner of the city.
10. Gagosian Gallery
With 17 galleries around the world and a collection of commercial records, Larry Gagosian — the “great white shark” of contemporary art — is without contest the most powerful living art dealer.
When he opened his Paris gallery in 2010, he planted it far from Paris’s artistic heart, but right on the doorstep of the world’s luxury epicenter. Two years later, he inaugurated another gigantic space in the Paris suburbs, offering even easier access for his wealthy clients; the gallery’s located right next to the landing strip of Le Bourget, an airport devoted to business jets and private planes.
As for Gagosian’s artists, well there’s no real need to list them here: all are the most renowned creators of the post-war and contemporary eras.
Map of the Best Contemporary Art Galleries in Paris
Ready to discover more of our must-sees? Here are all of our Top Paris Recommendations.
Editor’s note: Article originally published October 17, 2019. Last updated January 18, 2022.
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