Controversy over the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been brewing in France for months as critics charge the government with "selling" its museums for a price -- in this instance a $1.267 billion package, The New York Times said Tuesday.
For Abu Dhabi, the deal marks an important step in its plan to build a $27 billion tourist and cultural development on Saadiyat Island across from the city. Besides the museum, the project's components include a Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a maritime museum and a performing arts center.
The agreement, signed Tuesday, includes paying $520 million for use of the Louvre name for 30 years -- with $195 million to be paid within one month. Abu Dhabi will pay France an additional $747 million in exchange for art loans, special exhibitions and management advice.