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San Francisco Just Got A Little More French: Fine Arts Museums Make a Deal with the Louvre

L: Portrait of Louis XIV, 17th century. Goldsmith-jeweler: Laurent Tessier Montarsy (?–1684). Miniature painting, silver, and diamond. Inv.: OA12280. Photo: Jean-Gilles Berizzi. C: Agate ewer. Paris, c. 1650. Enamelled gold mount. Entered the collection of Louis XIV before 1673. Inv.: MR231. Photo: Jean-Gilles Berizzi. R: Bust of Marie-Antoinette. Commissioned by Prince Alexandre Kourakine. 1782. Hard-paste porcelain. Inv.: OA10898. Photo: Peter Harholdt. All courtesy of the Legion of Honor.

Last week, big news in the art world hit San Francisco. The Fine Arts Museums announced an exclusive agreement between the de Young/Legion of Honor and the Louvre. Over the next five years, the world's most famous museum will collaborate with FAMSF on a series of exhibitions and exchanges, including plans to share significant works of art—which means that San Francisco will have unprecedented access to some of the iconic works usually kept on lockdown in Paris.

"I only want one picture," said FAMSF board president Dede Wilsey. "And that's the Mona Lisa."

Whether or not San Francisco will be able to loan such an eminent piece remains to be seen, but this partnership solidifies SF as an art capital and furthers our French connection. The accord between the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Louvre "is guided by a desire to develop international cultural cooperation and strengthen ties between the French and American people," as the leaders of the two institutions put it. To kick off this new deal with our sister city, the Legion of Honor debuted its show "Royal Treasures from the Louvre," on view through March 17.