Hot on the trail of Guggenheim, which last year announced ambitious plans for a new museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry. As reported by the New York Times, the French government recently confirmed that it will rent the Louvre name and art treasures to a new museum in Abu Dhabi, for a sum rumored to be between $800 million to $1 billion. The new Louvre will be one of five museums slated for the tourist development on Saadiyat Island, opening in 2012. The new museum will be managed by a new International Agency of French Museums, which will also manage the Musée d'Orsay, the new Musée du Quai Branly, the Château de Versailles, and the Pompidou Center. This is a monumental decision, and signifies a serious directional change in the marketing of the oldest and most famous art museum in the world. Is Chirac selling out?
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