Paris (AFP) - The Pompidou Centre in Paris, which houses the world's second biggest collection of modern art, said on Tuesday that it was close to signing a deal for a franchise gallery in Shanghai.
It will show around 20 exhibitions over five years in a wing of the new West Bund Art Museum, which is being built in the cultural district of China's commercial capital by British architect David Chipperfield.
The Paris gallery, which also has plans to open branches in South Korea and Belgium, has been in talks for more than a decade with the Chinese authorities.
Last year it staged its first show in China called Masterpieces From The Centre Pompidou 1906-77 featuring work by Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and other big names at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.
The gallery said it had signed a protocol with the publicly-owned West Bund Group for a renewable five-year deal to stage exhibitions in the new museum from 2019.
The company has been turning part of the formerly industrial Xuhui district of the city into a 11km "cultural corridor" along the Huangpu River.
The Pompidou hailed the deal as "the most important long-term cultural exchange project" between France and China and said it would give "an important place to contemporary Chinese art" in the new gallery.
It said its new gallery would be called the Centre Pompidou Shanghai (West Bund).
The West Bund Museum is due to be completed at the end of 2018. It will be a major boost to the area's attractions which already include the private Long Museum West Bund, the Yuz Museum and the Shanghai Centre of Photography.
The Pompidou Centre - which also houses a library and cinemas - was an architectural sensation when it first opened in Paris in 1977.
Its collection of more than 120,000 artworks is regarded as the second most important in the world after the Museum of Modern Art in New York.