Louvre Abu Dhabi, opening soon as a universal museum in the Arab world. Its very name is testament to what is an unprecedented alliance of an intergovernmental agreement between the emirate of Abu Dhabi and France, through one of the highest level of cultural cooperation ever created between two sovereign countries. This unprecedented gesture establishes a long and solid relationship between Musée du Louvre, the greatest museums located in Paris, and Abu Dhabi, which is a dynamic force in the contemporary world.
Louvre Abu Dhabi is intended to be a place of discovery, exchange and education. It will also play an important social role in United Arab Emirates. In this respect, it can be seen as a product of the 18th-century Enlightenment in Europe. This movement gave birth to the principle of the encyclopaedic and universal museum housing diverse collections of artworks for the purposes of public display and scientific study. The museum will present major objects from the fields of archaeology, fine arts and decorative arts. It will also represent all regions, periods, including contemporary art and the narrative of art history.
The cultural collaboration between French cultural institutions (Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, Centre Pompidou, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Musée du quai Branly, Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet, Musée Rodin, Château de Versailles, Etablissement public de la Réunion des musées nationaux et du Grand Palais, Domaine national de Chambord, Ecole du Louvre, Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge, Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, Cité de la céramique – Sèvres et Limoges, Musée d’Archéologie nationale de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Château de Fontainebleau) and Abu Dhabi will create a new centre of cultural gravity. French museums will provide their savoir-faire in developing the national collection, loaning works for the permanent galleries and exhibitions during the first ten years. The universal approach suits Abu Dhabi well, reflecting the city’s position at crossroads of east and west, and its vital ancient role in the days of the Silk Route, when the region linked Europe and the Indian Ocean, opening up exchanges between Asia and Africa.
One facet of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s vocation will be to form a shared universal memory. The dialogue between artworks, sculptures and objects will allow visitors to discover shared influences and mutual historical connections between different cultures around the globe, giving insight into the history of humankind since beginning of time. The aim is to avoid the isolation of cultures and disciplines in order to offer a comprehensive history of art, providing an alternative to the particular vision of the world that has long been proposed by museums.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will offer a global vision of history of world art, one that will inevitably evolve over time. This evolution will be shaped by different loans and gradual enrichment of the collection, and, above all, by acquisition of new knowledge and adoption of fresh approaches.
The museum among museums
Heir to the century of Enlightenment and the French Revolution, Musée du Louvre stands since as the “museum among museums”; as such its name is a synonym of excellence in the museum field. Musée du Louvre was created in 1793 in Paris, and it is one of the oldest and largest museums. The museum hosts 35,000 works of art drawn from eight departments; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Islamic Art, Paintings, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Prints and Drawings. The museum’s collection covers history of mankind from antiquity to 1848.
A museum for all by virtue of the sheer variety of its collection, Musée du Louvre further highlights its universal reach via diversity of its 10 million annual visitors and an ongoing effort to make contact with the widest possible French and international audience.
Musée du Louvre is committed to share its name and values with Abu Dhabi through an exceptional and innovative project, based on the transfer of centuries-old experience and expertise in museum management and curatorship.