MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. A group of Russian philanthropists was awarded on Thursday with The Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration for military and civil merits, for donating a huge collection of modern Russian art to the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
President of world’s leading nickel producer Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin, Multimedia Art Museum chief Olga Sviblova, founder of the Yekaterina culture foundation Vladimir Semenikhin and Tsukanov family foundation chief Igor Tsukanov received the awards at a ceremony that took place at the French ambassador’s residence in Russia.
"We are here because our partnership project is completed with huge success. Modern Russian art (is on display) in the Pompidou Centre in Paris. There can hardly be a better and more prestigious way to show the entire world this page of our cultural history. I’m very proud that me and my colleagues were able to do this," Potanin said.
French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert described the donation as an important and outstanding event, adding that Russian-French relations are based on mutual admiration and respect.
A collection of more than 450 Soviet Union and Russian art objects, dated between 1950 and 2000, was collected at the initiative of the Vladimir Potanin foundation and donated to the Pompidou Centre of modern arts in Paris. Most of the objects were donated by art collectors and artists.
The gift turned the Pompidou Centre’s publically available collection of Russian art into the world’s biggest.
The entire collection is currently on display at an exhibition to continue until April 2. After that, the collection will be included into the permanent display on a rotational basis.
The project started the Russia-France Cross-Year of cultural tourism.