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France loses a cultural icon

French businessman and art patron Pierre Berge has died at the age of 86 after a long illness.

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France loses a cultural icon

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French businessman and art patron Pierre Berge has died at the age of 86 after a long illness.

Berge was the partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent, with whom he founded the label in 1961.

He died on Friday at his home in Saint-Remy-de-Provence in southern France.



Berge’s cultural contribution

Berge was a passionate art collector and opera lover. He ran the Yves Saint Laurent house until 2002.

Socialist President Francois Miterrand put him in charge of the newly-built Bastille Opera in Paris in 1988.

He was also a founder of the French weekly Courrier International and the gay magazine Tetu. He was chairman of the supervisory board at Le Monde newspaper as one of its main shareholders.

Berge was due to inaugurate two museums dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent in Paris and Marrakech this autumn.

HIV-AIDS awareness

Berge was a long-time campaigner for gay rights.

In 1994, he created Sidaction, a fund-raising organisation dedicted to AIDS research and treatment.


What they are saying

“Pierre Berge was a true prince of the arts and culture,” – former culture minister Jack Lang.