Works of art that will eventually be on show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi are to go on display in the capital until early July. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, this morning marked the beginning of the construction of the project on Saadiyat Island. In an event at the Emirates Palace hotel, Mr Sarkozy said: "Together, we have embarked on an extraordinary journey of cultural exchange and collaboration and I believe that our two countries will forever be strengthened by this partnership." A statement by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, said the project represented an "unprecedented cultural partnership" that aimed to "build a platform for deeper and more meaningful exchange among people from our region and from all parts of the globe." Sheikh Mohammed said: "At every step of this remarkable and innovative collaboration, the ties of friendship and respect between Abu Dhabi and France grow stronger." The 29 works to go on show at the Emirates Palace until July 2, and for which visitors must book a tour in advance, include paintings by Manet and Cezanne and one from the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian that was bought from the personal collection of fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent. A series of talks on the make-up of the Louvre will start at the Emirates Palace tonight, and will be followed by a children's art educational programme. The exhibition will also feature a film by Jean Nouvel, who designed the new museum. The 24,000 square metre museum is expected to open on Saadiyat Island by 2013. email@example.com
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