The wait is almost over – Louvre Abu Dhabi will throw open its doors to the public from 11 November.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the ‘museum city’ was first announced in 2007, but has been beset by delays (caused partly by falling oil prices). Now the finishing touches are being applied to the complex, which is the lynchpin of the £18bn Saadiyat Island project that aims to turn the UAE into the art capital of the Middle East..
‘[Louvre Abu Dhabi’s] ground-breaking architecture complements a presentation of exceptional treasures that represent a snapshot of humanity’s creativity, and paves the way for new discussions,’ said the museum’s director Manuel Rabaté.
Capped by a 180-metre dome, the museum appears to float above the water. Visitors will be able to explore galleries filled with artworks, artefacts and objects from its collection that spans human existence. Items have also been loaned from 13 French institutions – including the Louvre, which has loaned its name to the new museum for a period of 30 years and 6 months.
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s opening announcement comes after France’s ambassador to the UAE, Ludovic Pouille, tweeted pictures from inside the culture hub last month showing its nearly completed interiors.
The first special exhibition will launch on 21 December. From One Louvre to Another, it will delve into the history of Musée du Louvre in Paris, from King Louis XIV’s royal collections to the creation of the modern museum. Site-specific works by artists Jenny Holzer and Giuseppe Penone have also been commissioned for the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s grounds.