The Al Thani Collection
Hôtel de la Marine
Global treasures: showcasing The Al Thani Collection, one of the world's most prestigious private art collections. The Al Thani Collection comprises an exceptional and eclectic array of artworks spanning from prehistoric times to the present day. Encyclopedic in its approach and representative of a wide range of cultures and civilizations, the Collection celebrates the creativity and universal, unifying power of art through the ages.
The Collection has been the subject of a series of international temporary exhibitions over the years, organized by The Al Thani Collection Foundation, a non-profit organization whose main mission is to promote art and culture. Host venues have included prestigious museum institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Tokyo National Museum.
Now, thanks to an agreement between the Foundation and the Centre des monuments nationaux, the Collection has a long-term home – for 20 years – at the Hôtel de la Marine, in Paris, where highlights will be on view alongside a rich program of temporary exhibitions.
The 18th-century palace was originally conceived under the reign of Louis XV as the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (royal furniture repository), and later served as headquarters of the French Navy for over 200 years. The space designated for the galleries were used to store tapestries in the time of the Garde-meuble.
The design, by Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects, pursues a vision of the ‘Archaeology of the Future’ by creating a contemporary, yet historically rooted gallery environment that embraces both the significance of the artworks and the memory of the Hôtel de la Marine's past identity.
The inaugural exhibition showcases a rich diversity of artworks belonging to numerous civilizations spanning more than 5,000 years. Significant materials include an Egyptian head of a royal figure carved in red jasper (15th–13th century B.C.), a Chinese gilt bronze sculpture of a seated bear (Han Dynasty, 206 B.C.–25 A.D.), a Mayan mask pendant (200-600 A.D.) and the jade cup of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (16th–17th century A.D.)
Goppion has created 25 showcases for The Al Thani Collection. Some have been designed for specific objects and locations in the exhibition space, and consequently required different shapes and opening mechanisms. Of particular engineering complexity is a large curved display case over 20 meters long, with motorized pull and slide opening of the rear panels.