Louvre Abu Dhabi
The new Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi makes this city in the middle of the desert worth the visit.
It’s an agreement between France and the United Arab Emirates: For 30 years, Abu Dhabi can use the name of the Parisian museum and gets 300 works of art to display. They had to cough up for this: $525 million were payed to use the name of the Louvre and an extra $747 million for art loans, special exhibitions and the management of the collection. And this doesn’t even cover the construction of the building ($1,3 bilion) or the acquisition of their own permanent art collection ($40 million).
In November 2017, the museum opened on the Saadyat Island (Island of Happiness), that is planned to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub and big tourist attraction.
And with a “starchitectural” building like this, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, they are attracting those tourists. The location in the blue waters, the sun beaming rain of light through the roof, the colours and the huge open spaces – this building is so photogenic I think it is already an icon.
Let’s not forget the art. The Louvre Abu Dhabi showcases works from the Louvre collection, works on loan from other museums and also art from its own collection, bought over the last few years. The works range from Prehistoric to modern times and come from all around the world. There are masterpieces such as an Ain Ghazal statue (among the oldest human statues ever found), the Egyptian Portrait of Fayoum, (made between 22-250 A.D), paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Monet and Van Gogh and a huge sculpture by Ai Weiwei.
And what’s so nice about it, is that the artworks are not presented based on provenance, but based on historical periods. Artworks that are made in different parts of the planet, but in the same time, are exhibited together: a vase from South America is combined with a statue from Greece and a sculpture from Africa for example. Suddenly you see how incredibly similar artists from all around the world have been working for thousands of years.