The Louvre in Abu Dhabi...


02/04/18 - In 2007, France and the United Arab Emirates (a young monarchy rich in oil) joined to develop a new cultural institution: a rental of the Louvre for 30 years, for a billionaire sum, with the guidance and loan of the French museum. This means that the powerful Louvre rented its name and part of its collection to land in Adu Dhabi. Thus the small and young country gives birth to its cultural wealth with a Western jewel. 
Today, now that the project is finally finished and opened to the public, it amazes with a colossal venue and an exhibition of some masterpieces of the original Louvre's permanent collection. The architecture is the star and, above all, its dome: a mesh of silver metal that covers the galleries that give to the sea. It is so remarkable that, as soon as we catch a glimpse of it through the windows, we feel the need to move away from the tour marked by the curators of the museum. However, security personnel reminds us that we can not go out before walking into the rooms of Contemporary Art.

General view - Louvre Abu Dhabi
The exhibition is organized chronologically, and goes from the first works in stone to the most iconic contemporary artists. The montage is also traditional, although the acrylic stands on which the antique pieces are placed makes them look as if floating. Among the highlights are Jacques-Louis David's portrait of Napoleon and Leonardo da Vinci's La Belle Ferronnière.
Bonaparte, crossing the Alps on 20 May 1800, by Jacques-Louis David (1803)
Technique: oil on canvas
Portrait of a woman, calles La Belle Forronnière, by Leonardo da Vinci (1495-1499)
Technique: oil on wood
In the rooms with art of the 20th century it's a wise choice to find Duchamp's bottle rack. Then follows the Contemporary Art selection, with few examples.
Bottle Rack, by Marcel Duchamp (1964 - from an original lost in 1914)
Material: galvanized iron
Fountain of Light, by Ai Weiwei (2016)
Material: steel and crystal glass
Food for thought, by Maia Malluh (2013)
Material: eleven burnt pans
All the signs are in Arab, English and French. For tourists, this is a 5 star attraction. For the art connoisseur, it is still incomplete. It mainly lacks a space dedicated to the Arab culture or a curation a bit more focused in the Middle East.

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Liliana Wrobel

Production & Translation

Carla Mitrani