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Paris: Louvre breaks record to buy €160 million paintings

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Photo: AFP
07:41 CET+01:00
The Louvre splashed out €80 million for its share of two Rembrandt paintings after France teamed up with the Netherlands for the deal worth €160million in total.

France and the Netherlands signed a historic deal on Monday acquiring two large Rembrandt portraits for €160 million ($174 million), the French culture ministry announced.

The agreement, signed by French culture minister Fleur Pellerin and her Dutch counterpart Jet Bussemaker seals the multi-million dollar deal agreed upon in September for two of the Dutch master's works.

The acquisition - costing the Louvre €80 million - is the largest ever made by a French museum.

The portraits, dating from 1634, are of prominent Dutchman Marten Soolmans and his future wife Oopjen Coppit, both wearing black with white lace on the eve of their marriage.

The ministry said in a statement that the two works will be unveiled at the Louvre "in the coming weeks" before being shipped off to the Netherlands for restoration.

The works will then be shared between the Paris museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam which both house some of the largest public art collections in the world.

France and the Netherlands acquired the paintings from the French branch of the Rothschild family, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the world.

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Over the past 150 years the public was only able to catch a glimpse of the valuable portraits during an exhibition organized in 1956.

The deal was reached after a series of twists and turns after the Louvre turned down the Rothschild's initial price in 2013.

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