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Louvre Abu Dhabi reveals first major pieces

Louvre Abu Dhabi reveals first major pieces

Louvre Abu Dhabi, set to open in 2015, has announced approximately 300 loans to come from major French institutions for its opening year, which will complement the museum’s growing collection and universal narrative.

The loans include Leonardo da Vinci’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (circa 1495), also known as La Belle Ferronnière, which is being loaned by the Musée du Louvre.

Also on show will be Edouard Manet’s The Fife Player (1866); Claude Monet’s The Saint-Lazare Station (1877), to be loaned by Musée d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie; a rare salt cellar in ivory from the Benin Kingdom, from Musée du quai Branly; and Henri Matisse’s Still Life with Magnolia (1941) from Centre Pompidou.

The number of works loaned by French institutions will decrease over a ten-year period as Louvre Abu Dhabi continues to build up its collection.

The works will be on show from three months to two years, depending largely on the narrative, the conservation and the preservation requirements of each piece.


Louvre Abu Dhabi will follow the highest international standards and requirements for transport, presentation and conservation of artworks.

Born of an intergovernmental agreement between Abu Dhabi and France in 2007, Louvre Abu Dhabi will display artworks and objects of historical, cultural and sociological significance – from prehistory to the contemporary.

An innovative vision, the narrative will explore the relations between art traditions from a global perspective, decompartimentilasing collections and offering viewpoints from various cultures.

The construction of the museum is progressing rapidly, and the iconic dome is almost complete and placed into position on the site.

A one to one mock-up of one of the museums’ galleries has been completed to illustrate its materials and the possible modes of display.

With a built up area of 64,000 square metres, Louvre Abu Dhabi is conceived as a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, evoking the image of a city floating on the sea.

Hovering over the complex will be a vast, shallow dome - some 180 metres in diameter - perforated with interlaced patterns so that a diffused light reminiscent of the shadows of palm trees will filter through.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the organisation with the mandate for Louvre Abu Dhabi, said:
“These outstanding loans from our French partners represent the collaboration and exchange, symbolic of Louvre Abu Dhabi and its progress to date.

“This will be the first time many of these works will travel to Abu Dhabi or even the Middle East, and are a rare opportunity to see important art from French museums in dialogue with the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection.

“Ultimately, we hope to offer visitors a unique experience from a new perspective that underlines the universal spirit of the entire project.”

The selection was overseen by TCA Abu Dhabi, Agence France-Muséums (AFM) and the lending museums in line with the museum’s scientific and cultural programme.