An advantageous agreement
Qatari Sheikh Hamad Ben Abdullah Al-Thani is exhibiting, from November 18, part of his collection of ancient art at the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris. His honeymoon with the building at Place de la Concorde dates back to 2018. Patron of the holding company Qatar Investment & Projects Development (Qipco), the Qatari prince then obtains, for twenty years and in exchange for an annual rent of one million euros, the use of a space of 400 square meters within the Hôtel de la Marine, to display its collection of 6,000 works of art.
To seal this partnership, the Qatari also offered the site, inaugurated in June, a chest of drawers by Jean-Henri Riesener, bought at auction for $ 1.2 million (€ 1.04 million). Sheikh Hamad had already signed a check for 800,000 euros for the restoration of a staircase in the castle of Fontainebleau, when a part of his collection was exhibited there, in 2018.
A taste for heritage gems
First cousin of the current Emir (Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al-Thani), the 39-year-old prince has a weakness for historic buildings. In London, he owns Dudley House, a 19th century mansione century, restored at great expense.
In Paris, he owns the Lambert hotel, a jewel of French classicism, bought from Baron Guy de Rothschild for 60 million euros in 2007. The defenders of heritage stepped up to the plate when Qatari took it upon himself to dig, in this listed building, an underground car park as well as a car lift. Two projects which the prince finally gave up.
Crazy about Indian jewelry
“Obsessive and selective. “ This is how Sheikh Hamad described himself, in 2015, in Vanity Fair. Renowned for buying without counting, he started in 2009, at the age of 27, a collection of Mughal jewelry (the exhibition at the Hôtel de la Marine presents three). In record time, he has accumulated several hundred, exhibited in 2015 at the Metropolitan Museum, in New York, then in 2017 at the Grand Palais, in Paris. Before presenting them again to Big Apple in 2019, this time at the premises of the Christie’s auction house. The 338 lots brought in $ 109 million, the second highest auction amount for jewelry, after the Elizabeth Taylor sale in 2011.
Since 2017, a lawsuit has pitted him against the Kraemer, a large family of Parisian antique dealers. The subject of the dispute: a celadon vase and an 18th century mirrore century that the prince had bought for 2.9 million euros in 2012. When, in 2016, the Kraemers were implicated in the scandal of the supposedly counterfeit furniture of the Palace of Versailles, Sheikh Hamad feared to be, him also, fooled.
There followed a battle of experts and four years of proceedings to claim the nullity of the sale. On September 14, the Paris Commercial Court ruled in favor of the antique dealers and ordered the Qipco company to pay them 50,000 euros in damages. The Qatari prince appealed.
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Sheikh Hamad Ben Abdullah Al-Thani takes up residence at the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris