Abu Dhabi museum has a good name: Louvre

March 6, 2007 at 7:54 PM
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PARIS, March 6 (UPI) -- Officials of the United Arab Emirates and France signed papers in a billion-dollar deal to name an art museum in the Gulf state the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

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.

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