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A Preview of the Louvre Abu Dhabi

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It may take decades of painstakingly selected acquisitions to develop a globally significant art collection spanning five continents and several millennia. But if your pockets are as deep as those of Abu Dhabi’s oil-rich rulers and you have a small army of French experts to advise you, it can be achieved a little quicker.

Bienvenue au Louvre Abu Dhabi, an ambitious and long-delayed Emirati outpost of the Paris museum, now slated for 2015. Impatient art lovers can get a preview of the collection at a new temporary exhibit called “Birth of a Museum.” Some 130 objets will be housed for three months on the same multibillion-dollar island development as the new Louvre, which will be covered by a translucent white dome 600 feet in diameter designed by Frenchman Jean Nouvel. This eon-spanning taster will showcase pieces from America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Japan. Highlights include a miniature of a Rajasthani ruler (shown here), Manet’s portrait The Bohemian and a never-before-exhibited papier collé by Picasso. “Birth of a Museum” runs through July 20; Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Cultural District; saadiyatculturaldistrict.ae.

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