Former French President Georges Pompidou was an art lover. He pushed hard to launch the establishment of a museum dedicated to modern art in the center of Paris. This is how Centre Georges Pompidou, or Beaubourg, as it is usually called, was born. François Mitterand, the French President from 1981 to 1995, commissioned the building of a Bibliothèque Nationale (French library), named after himself, the Bibliothèque François Mitterand. Jacques Chirac, his successor at the head of the state, couldn’t resist the temptation to create a museum dedicated to one of his passions, primitive arts. In the process he left his own his fingerprint on French culture.
Chirac strongly influenced the decision to have a section of the Louvre dedicated to art from Africa and Oceania. But this wasn’t enough for him, as he also wanted an entire museum to pay tribute to these cultures often overlooked by French curators. He faced major opposition from cultural elites but refused to abandon the project.
French architect Jean Nouvel was in charge of the design of the Musee du Quai Branly. Construction started in 1996 just a few meters away from the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine. The façade of the Quai Branly is very easily recognizable, with its magenta color and green walls. The museum was inaugurated in 2006 by Jacques Chirac along with notable including Kofi Annan and Claude Levi-Strauss.
The Museum is home to one of the most impressive collections in the world of primitive art. Masterpieces from Oceania, Asia, Africa and South America are on display in a very soothing atmosphere.