Louvre Begs for Painting Cash
Public urged to help keep national treasure in France
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2010 2:59 AM CST
The Louvre wants the French to help it buy this painting.   (Wikimedia)

(Newser) – For the first time in its 217-year history, the Louvre is asking the French public to help it buy a painting—and the French aren't happy about. The museum is a million euros short of the 4 million it needs to buy the 16th-century oil painting Three Graces, and it has launched a public appeal for the funds, the BBC reports. The painting is deemed a national treasure by art experts and the museum warns that it may leave France if the cash can't be raised.

The Louvre's chief curator says the painting "is amusing, troubling and mysterious, as well as very sensual at the same time" and could become one of the museum's most popular works. Members of the public, however, complain that their taxes already fund the museum and say Nicolas Sarkozy —whose new presidential plane cost 84 million euros—or wealthy individuals hit by recent tax evasion scandals should be putting their hands in their pockets, Reuters notes.