Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened its door in 2017, has welcomed over two million visitors from around the world. Louvre is launching new programmes and new artworks in the galleries to celebrate its second-year anniversary this month.
The institution has further solidified its commitment to education, inaugurating the Children’s Museum in July 2019 – the first museum of its kind in the Arab world – and welcoming over 60,000 student visits while offering training and job opportunities for Emiratis and the local community.
“Two years ago, we launched this museum as a gift from Abu Dhabi to the world. Our vision was for a truly universal museum, a place that shines a light on our shared humanity through an incredible collection of artworks and artefacts from every corner of the globe. Today, I could not be prouder of how that vision has been brought to life. Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates the connections between cultures and tells a story of our collective history, present and future – a story that is now even more important in a world that tends to focus more on our differences than our similarities,” Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said.
Highlights in the galleries include: a dagger with lion-shaped handle (1100–600 BCE) excavated at Saruq al-Hadid in Dubai and on loan from Dubai Municipality; the monumental Egyptian marble Portrait of Cleopatra? (305–30 BCE, Ptolemaic Dynasty), a recent Louvre Abu Dhabi acquisition; a silver vase decorated with biblical figures (575–625) from Emesa (modern Homs, Syria), on loan from Musée du Louvre; a bronze aquamanile in the form of a peacock (972) from Spain, also on loan from Musée du Louvre; Rembrandt’s Head of a Young Man, with Clasped Hands: Study of the Figure of Christ, from ca. 1648-56; the portrait of Francis the First, King of France (1539 CE) by Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), on loan from Musée du Louvre; an Imperial armour from18th-century China, on loan from Musée des Arts Décoratifs; Francesco Primaticcio’s Laocoon and his Sons (Laocoon et ses fils) on loan from Château de Fontainebleau and Chinese imperial jades from the Qing dynasty (imperial seal decorated with two dragons and Ruyi sceptre), on loan from Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet.
New works have been installed in the museum’s modern and contemporary galleries, including Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun’s Portrait of Countess Skavronskaia (1761-1829), Lady of Honor of Catherine II, Empress of Russia on loan from Musée du Louvre, The Seine and the Louvre (La Seine et le Louvre) by Camille Pissarro (1903) on loan from Musée d’Orsay, Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker (Le Penseur) (1881-1882) on loan from Musée Rodin, Van Gogh in a landscape (Van Gogh dans un paysage) by Francis Bacon (1957) and Syrian painter Marwan Kassab-Bhaci’s Mann mit grüner Weste (Man in a Green Waistcoat) (1967), both on loan from Centre Pompidou – Musée national d’art moderne, as well as Emirati artist Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim’s works Window 1 (Fenêtre 1) and Untitled 1, both from 2016 and both on loan from Centre Pompidou – Musée national d'art moderne.
For the final gallery, Susanna Fritscher’s Für die Luft (For the air) is a maze constructed from thousands of silicon threads that visitors walk through. Stretched between the floor and the ceiling like the strings of a giant musical instrument, the artwork acts as a mist-like filter between visitors and the architecture that surrounds them, transforming their perception of the space.
Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, added, “In just two years, Louvre Abu Dhabi has established its reputation as a space for cultural exchange, community engagement and progressive dialogue. We have realised some significant milestones during this time, from major acquisitions of artworks for the museum’s collection, to outstanding special exhibitions that have garnered global attention. Education is also at the core of our mission and values. We have placed a huge emphasis on building a museum that is accessible to visitors of all ages and are cultivating a new generation of cultural leaders through training programmes and career opportunities. We are so thankful to all who have made this vision possible and look forward to the year ahead.”
During the anniversary month, Louvre Abu Dhabi will offer diverse experiences for visitors, from landmark exhibitions to interactive public programmes across the galleries.
On the wider programme, Souraya Noujaim, Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management Director, Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “Louvre Abu Dhabi’s cultural seasons offer an opportunity to further explore key historical and aesthetic episodes in history from our unique Universal perspective, often re-examining the ways in which mutual discovery and appreciation have always informed human history. In Changing Societies, our main objective is to shed light on how culture and creativity have acted as a manifestation of shifts and changes in society and civilisations.”