Middle Eastern Art Lovers, Rejoice! Louvre is Finally Coming to Abu Dhabi

Paris Musee D’Orsay Vincent van Gogh 1889 Self Portrait 2 Close Up

Known for its amazing beaches, great touristic attractions and of course the Etihad Airways Grand Prix and Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi is a great city to visit. Now it is becoming even a better place to spend your holidays in. Thanks to the agreement between Abu Dhabi and France-Muséums, Louvre Abu Dhabi is being completed shortly and will be opening its doors in this fascinating Middle Eastern city. And it is not that far.

Although it has been a while since Louvre Abu Dhabi Talking Art Series have been held, the official opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is only 14 months away. So, Louvre Abu Dhabi is opening its doors pretty soon – the official opening is scheduled to take place in December 2015. About the ongoing construction, The National reports that “The concrete frame of the museum is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year and the museum is set to open in 2015.” The aim of the museum is to be ‘universal’ and to create ‘a dialogue between cultures and civilizations’. The director of France’s Louvre, Mr. Jean-Luc Martinez, stated that “The collection was constituted to show a dialogue between cultures to stress the Middle East’s role as a bridge between civilizations”.

So, what can we, Middle Eastern art lovers, see in Louvre Abu Dhabi? Apparently the collection will be even better than we previously thought. The news has it that artistic masterpieces made by great artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Claude Monet and Henri Matisse will be among the 300 artworks that will be loaned from French museums to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. A self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh, Le Fifre by Édouard Manet, Claude Monet’s Impression, Soleil Levant and Station La Gare Saint-Lazare, Henri Matisse’s Still Life with Magnolia and a rare salt cellar in ivory from the Benin Kingdom are announced to be only some of the items that we will be able to admire in the museum next year. Furthermore, reportedly, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has already spent about $55 million a year to buy art pieces to be shown in Louvre Abu Dhabi. So we can cheerfully say that a great art feast will be awaiting us in the great building of Louvre Abu Dhabi. Laurence Descars, one of the commissioners of the exhibition, said that “We want to have works that have a story to tell, we want to make icons.”

How about the looks of the museum? Will it be iconic like the Louvre Paris? Although it is hard to be the icon in a city that boost so many great buildings, we certainly think so. The photos posted in the media show a great white dome by the beach, which can be regarded as an icon by itself. The interiors seem to be equally artistic, with light beams falling gracefully on the white floors and the ponds that are contained by the museum. Louvre Abu Dhabi is designed as a “seemingly floating dome structure” as its dome allows the sun to filter through. The overall effect is meant to represent “rays of sunlight passing through date palm fronds in an oasis” — a completely complementary look for the city of Abu Dhabi. Also, According to Design-Build Network, Louvre Abu Dhabi will have 6,000m² of galleries devoted to permanent displays and 2,000m² for temporary exhibitions. A model replica of the museum has been on display in Louvre Paris as a part of “The Birth of a Museum” exhibition, held in the Napoleon Hall under the Louvre Pyramid.

Louvre Abu Dhabi (Credit: thenational.ae)

Louvre Abu Dhabi (Credit: thenational.ae)

We believe that the opening of the Louvre in the Middle East, the crossroad of civilizations, can benefit both the European and the Middle Eastern world. Art is a powerful tool of bringing masses together, after all. Well, maybe we should leave the last word about the importance of the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi to Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and the Emir of Abu Dhabi: “This is a major achievement in Abu Dhabi’s vision to become a world-class destination bridging global cultures. This accord further strengthens international dialogue, which will embrace all cultures. This initiative is a unique milestone in international cooperation and bilateral relations and a tribute to the longstanding and friendly ties our two nations have enjoyed. It also creates an enriching environment to be treasured by and to educate generations to come.”