The Paris-based art dealer and collector Claude Lemand and his wife, France, donated some 1,300 works of art to the Institut du Monde Arabe. It’s one of the largest donations in the Paris museum’s history and includes funds for an endowment that will support the future exhibitions, acquisitions, research, and catalogue publication.
Lemand left his native Lebanon in the mid-1970s, when civil war broke out. When he founded his gallery in Paris in 1988 he dedicated it to Arab artists who, like him, had settled in the West. He and his wife also amassed an impressive collection of Arab art themselves. The acquisition of the Lemands’ collection will increase its holdings of Modern and contemporary art by two thirds.
“I remain personally very attached to the Arab world,” Lemand said in a statement. “The goal of my gallery is to make better known the art of the Arab world to the West.” Leaving his personal collection to a museum in his adopted hometown of Pairs was a natural extension of that mission.
“I wanted to show how much an émigré of Arab culture and a French universalist is capable of initiative and generosity,” Lemand added. “This donation gives meaning to our life and, when we are gone, the works of art will continue to testify to our passion to future generations called to visit this museum.”
The works include oil paintings as well as watercolors and gouaches, drawings, sculptures, prints, artists’ books, photographs and ceramics, dating from the present day back to the 19th century. The 94 artists in the collection include Algeria’s Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Syria’s Youssef Abdelké, and Lebanon’s Shafic Abboud.
As reported by the Art Newspaper, the museum has already mounted three exhibitions featuring some of the donated works, which are on view through March 10, 2019. It plans to show the remaining works in a rotating display.
See some of the donated works below.