Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The first international branch of Louvre Museum and the first Universalist museum from the Middle East, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a grandiose project with a daring mission: fusing the arts created in different parts of the world, draw parallels between them and interpret them from a multicultural perspective.

Louvre Abu Dhabi represents a new type of cultural collaboration between two countries with different cultures and civilizations, located in two different parts of the world. While the concept of using already established cultural brands for new similar establishments it is now a new one, the formula is innovative for the famous French museum. The future branch will have the same basic functioning principles to the “mother” museum, while adjusting the curatorial criteria to the local realties and specific.


The birth certificate for Louvre Abu Dhabi is dated 6th of March, 2007 when the French and the Arab parties have signed the agreement. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, then Culture Minister put his signature from the French part, while the Arabs were represented by Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan. Paying over $1.30 billion for the rights to use the name “Louvre” and for the ability to receive temporary exhibitions from French locations, the Arabs have also secured the right to have the only Louvre branch from Middle East. The construction of the edifice started on 26th of May, 2009, when the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French president Nicholas Sarkozy inaugurated an exhibition to celebrate the event. The facility should have been finished by 2012, but several delays have pushed the inauguration date to 2015.

Structure & Architecture of Louvre Abu Dhabi

The design bears the signature of Jean Nouvel, one of the highly reputed architects of the world and winner of the Pritzker Prize in 2008. He is also responsible for the Institute du Monde Arab in Paris; therefore he has previous experience in blending French and Arab symbols and traditions for an architectural masterpiece.

The exterior aspect of Louvre Abu Dhabi is meant to resemble a “floating dome” through which the rays of light will gently go inside the building. The falaj-inspired water system flowing inside the museum is a tribute brought to ancient Arab engineering system, while the lacy look of the dome was designed to resemble the palm leave roofing specific to the area.

Inside, Louvre Abu Dhabi will be structured so as to conduct visitors in a cultural journey which spans from the birth of civilization until modern times. The total surface of the museum will be of 24,000 square meters, while 6,000 square meters will be occupied by the permanent exhibitions and 2,000 square meters will be reserved for temporary art displays.


The permanent exhibitions hosted by Louvre Abu Dhabi will not feature any art works from the French Louvre or from other French museums. Officials have announced that no artwork of the 35,000 exhibits displayed at Musee Louvre will be sold towards Louvre Abu Dhabi or other museum. All permanent exhibits will be purchased by Louvre Abu Dhabi from private owners, public auctions, collections and other similar sources. The central display will be complemented by temporary exhibitions and loans from Louvre, Palace of Versailles, Musee D’Orsay and Centre Georges Pompidou. The first purchases have already been made and one exhibition featuring 18 artworks have been inaugurated in 2009. adsense banned Significant purchases have been made along the way, continuously enlarging the Louvre Abu Dhabi collections.

“Talking Art” Series

A series of events presenting different exhibits, presenting the museum’s cultural vision and specific are held under the name “Louvre Abu Dhabi: Talking Art”. The first such event was held in 2009, when the facility’s building was started. Further events are planned until the official opening in 2015. Apart from formal presentation, their role is to offer insight into the museum’s exhibits. Furthermore, these gatherings are meant to become forms of interaction with the people, who can bring their contribution to the exhibitions’ formation and shaping. Louvre Abu Dhabi is meant to break boundaries and, in true Enlightenment style, present works and let the public make the connections. Facing its opponents with dignity and opening up to the public for a better interaction, it is ready to bring a new perspective about Middle East culture and integrate it in broader view about culture and civilization’s evolution.


More information from Wikipedia or from the Louvre official website.

Picture (source: http://flic.kr/p/5mrz3L).