Lou­vre to open mu­seum in Abu Dhabi

The famed Paris art mu­seum’s lo­ca­tion in the United Arab Emi­rates will fea­ture post-im­pres­sion­ist French art as well as Mid­dle East­ern works from all eras. Crit­ics have ac­cused the Lou­vre of “sell­ing its soul”

The Daily News Egypt - - Art & Culture -

DW—On 11 Novem­ber 2017, the Lou­vre will open its first gallery out­side of France in the cap­i­tal of the United Arab Emi­rate (UAE), French Min­is­ter of Cul­ture Fran­coise Nyssen said at a Wed­nes­day con­fer­ence in Abu Dhabi as she shook hands with the chair­per­son of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cul­tural Author­ity, Khal­ifa Al Mubarak. A key goal of the col­lec­tion will be to high­light bridges be­tween world civ­i­liza­tions through­out his­tory.

The mu­seum, which has been in the works for around a decade, was orig­i­nally slated to open in 2012 but faced fi­nanc­ing and con­struc­tion de­lays. The 30-year-long part­ner­ship be­tween France and the UAE that gov­erns the Emi­rati Lou­vre-branded gallery is es­ti­mated to be worth $1.1 bil­lion (€919 mil­lion). It en­ables top French mu­se­ums to loan works of art to the Abu Dhabi mu­seum for 10 to 15 years.

The Novem­ber open­ing means the Lou­vre will join the ranks of other pres­ti­gious mu­se­ums that have opened branded branches be­yond their home na­tions, such as the New York City based Guggen­heim.It has three non-Amer­i­can lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing one set to open in Abu Dhabi.

How­ever, the French-UAE part­ner­ship has not been with­out its crit­ics. Some ac­cused the world­fa­mous mu­seum of be­tray­ing its cul­tural mis­sion and be­hav­ing like a cor­po­ra­tion gov­erned by profit in­ter­ests.The Emi­rati king­dom paid around $520 mil­lion alone for the right to use the Lou­vre name.

A ‘uni­ver­sal mu­seum’

Come Novem­ber, art lovers in Abu Dhabi will be able to see over 600 masterpieces from around the world, in­clud­ing mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary art­works on loan from French mu­se­ums and paint­ings and ar­ti­facts from the Mid­dle East’s an­cient civ­i­liza­tions.

The Lou­vre Abu Dhabi is billing it­self as “the first uni­ver­sal mu­seum in the Arab world.” The col­lec­tion fo­cuses heav­ily on il­lus­trat­ing world his­to­ries and re­li­gions and will in­clude nude fig­ures, Is­lamic, Jewish, and Chris­tian art and ar­ti­facts, and rep­re­sen­ta­tions of East Asian deities.

The ar­chi­tec­ture of the new Abu Dhabi Lou­vre also seeks to high­light the sur­round­ing cul­ture. The com­plex was de­signed by French ar­chi­tect Jean Nou­vel and fea­tures a sliv­ery dome whose per­me­ations al­low light to stream through it like the palm fronds of the Gulf. The build­ings are also in­ter­spersed with pools of wa­ter.

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