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Louvre Abu Dhabi unveils preview of treasures in Paris


The Louvre Abu Dhabi will open its doors in December 2015 in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, and organisers hope it will put the country, known for flashy hotels and arid deserts, on the world’s cultural map.


On Tuesday in Paris, the Louvre unveiled a preview of the art that the Abu Dhabi project has acquired since 2009.

French President François Hollande inaugurated the exhibition of some 160 works entitled “Birth of a Museum.” It includes a 19th-century Yemeni Torah, a 13th-century Gothic Bible and an array of Renaissance and modern masterpieces by artists such as Yves Klein, René Magritte and Pablo Picasso.

The Abu Dhabi Louvre will be the centrepiece of a planned cultural district in the capital that will also include a branch of New York’s Guggenheim and a national museum.

There have been whispers among skeptics in France, who say a nation known for its “nouveau riche” society can’t simply buy its way into being a renowned cultural centre.

But the museum’s architect Jean Nouvel has dismissed such criticism as petty jealousy.

The next hurdle of this ambitious but controversial project will be in convincing the greater Arab world to accept the museum’s bold artistic representations of sexuality and religion.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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