From private collections to public exhibitions
: the case study of Châteu La Coste

  • Victoire Marie Isabelle Michel (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The current report corresponds to an internship at Château La Coste, in the
department of art and architecture for the private collection of Patrick McKillen in Aix-En-
Provence, France. The duration was of 4 months from the 15th August 2019 to the 15th
December 2019. The collection of Patrick McKillen at Château La Coste consists of an
outdoor exhibition 36 artworks and architecture installation from famous contemporary
artists and architects worldwide. The first artist to construct a massive architectural building
on the property was Tadao Ando, who built the art centre starting from 2009 and welcomed
its first visitors only in the summer of 2011. The ongoing constructions on site today are of;
Richard Roger, James Turell, Jean Nouvelle with Louise Bourgeois and Richard Long. On
top of the outdoor installations there are three exhibition galleries on site, two Wilmotte
galleries and Renzo Piano pavilion with a gallery space.
The purpose of the internship experience was to understand and explore the
functioning of private collections to their opening to the public by being in the heart of the
management structure of Château La Coste. The internship was a need to comprehend the
grounding work of exhibiting artworks that are the public.
This report aims at answering the question of why private collectors open their
collection to the public, how they follow their vision and why these new collectors have a
willingness to open private collections to the public. The growing number of institutions like
this one are becoming case studies to understand the changing cultural dynamics in the art
market. This phenomenon is global and has become a new norm to consume culture to
consume culture thought the private collection it is not a unique case that we are seeing with
Château La Coste. Through academic research and my personal experience at the Château
La Coste this report aims at understanding the trend of contemporary art collecting and
exhibiting in our time.
Date of Award15 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorDiana Gonçalves (Supervisor) & Ana Cristina Cachola (Co-Supervisor)


  • Contemporary art market
  • Collectors
  • Private museums
  • European art market
  • Private collections


  • Mestrado em Estudos de Cultura

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