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Louvre of the Middle East

Louvre of the Middle East

Abu Dhabi: Masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh will be among 300 works displayed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Emirate said Sunday, as it aims to become a leader in fine art.

The museum, built at a cost of 500 million euros ($630 million) and set to open in December 2015, will feature paintings and sculptures from 13 of France's most renowned collections spanning from pre-Bronze Age to Pop Art, it said in a statement.

"This will be the first time many of these works will travel to Abu Dhabi or even the Middle East, and are a rare opportunity to see important art from French museums," said Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan, chairman of the organisation behind the project.

The loaned works include da Vinci's Portrait of an Unknown Woman, Claude Monet's Saint Lazare Station and Andy Warhol's Big Electric Chair, as well as ancient statues, vases and masks from across Asia and Africa.

Many of France's grand museums, including the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and the Palace of Versailles will loan art to Abu Dhabi as part of a 30-year collaboration with the Emirate worth one billion euros ($1.3 billion).

The 64,000-square-metre Louvre Abu Dhabi has been built on the island of Saadiyat in the oil-flush Emirate. Hovering above the complex will be a giant, 180-metre dome perforated with designs that will project light patterns in the shape of palm trees on the exhibition space below. In 2007, Abu Dhabi paid $520 million just to use the name of Paris' world famous art museum.

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