The Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Foundation owns one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary Arab art in the world. A new private museum to house it is due to open to the public in 2020.

According to The Art Newspaper, Beirut’s Museum of Arab Art will house the collection’s 4000 works in a space measuring between 10,000 and 15,000 m2, which will make it the largest museum in the city. Entry will be free of charge and Basel Dalloul, the son of Ramzi Dalloul and the director of the foundation, said that he would like to create partnerships with important international museums like the Centre Pompidou, British Museum or Guggenheim Museum in New York. The foundation has already lent works to Chicago’s contemporary art museum and Tate Modern in London.

Several new museums to open in Beirut

The Dalloul Foundation collection is for the most part composed of paintings and sculptures but it includes installations, photographs and videos. “I felt we needed to use art as an instrument to educate people”, explained Ramzi Dalloul to Harper’s Bazaar in 2016. Dalloul left his job at the United Nations in New York during the 2000s to concentrate on his collection and museum project. “We want to be able to contribute to the cultural current of the region, at least in a small way”, he stated. “We’d like to show a better face of this part of the planet”, he explained to The Art Newspaper.

The foundation’s ambitions are part of a broader desire to make Beirut one of the region’s cultural hubs. A series of new museums are expected to open in the capital in the next few years. The Beirut City Museum, designed by architect Renzo Piano to trace the city’s history, should open in two years time. And the Beirut Art Museum, designed by the French-Lebanese architect Hala Wardé, should open its doors in 2020. It too will house an important collection of modern and contemporary art.

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