With the opening of the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City's swanky Polanco District, billionaire Carlos Slim — the world's richest man — brings art to the masses. Housing works from his 66,000-piece collection, the $34 million museum is free to enter and features a vast range, from pre-Columbian artifacts to the most important collection of Auguste Rodin's sculptures outside France. The striking, six-floor, aluminum-plated structure was designed by Slim's son-in-law, Fernando Romero, and it is considered such a significant contribution to the country that its inauguration was attended by Mexico's president Felipe Calderón and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez.
Patio de la Hacienda de Regla
Exterior of Soumaya Museum
Slim has said that one reason for opening the museum is to share art with Mexicans who cannot travel outside Mexico. Local visitors are sure to relish works by Mexican muralists Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera sharing space with pieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso. Part of a twelve-acre urban development, the Soumaya Museum is named after Slim's late wife, whom he credits with his interest in art.