Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates its fourth birthday, reflecting on the achievements of the past year and its aspirations for the year ahead.
Throughout the challenging climate of 2021, the museum drew from the strength of relationships with its lending partners to successfully open two international exhibitions, “Abstraction and Calligraphy: Towards a Universal Language“, and “Dragon and Phoenix: Centuries of Exchange between Chinese and Islamic Worlds“.
The Children’s Museum also reopened with the interactive exhibition “Emotions! The New Art Adventure”, to help young visitors explore their emotions through art and activities. This year marked a new partnership with Swiss watchmaking brand Richard Mille to launch an annual exhibition, “Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here” (opening next week), and the creation of The Richard Mille Art Prize.
With more than 100 new artworks installed in the galleries for its anniversary, and the launch of a new Resource Centre and Research Laboratory, Louvre Abu Dhabi continues to play a leading role in the exciting and dynamic arts and culture ecosystem in its fourth year.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi continues to demonstrate a new model of what a museum can be, successfully serving both local and global audiences while its identity as an iconic institution remains firmly rooted in the emirate.”Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
More than 100 new artworks The year has seen a rolling installation of new acquisitions and loans, with 56 new acquisitions installed leading up to the anniversary. Amongst the masterpieces acquired is Georges de La Tour’s A Girl Blowing on a Brazier, part of the small corpus of paintings attributed to the artist and which, until now, has been in private hands. Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s The Bolt, is considered one of the most famous paintings by the artist. Visitors will be able to appreciate two new works by Auguste Rodin – “The Call to Arms” and “Monument of Victor Hugo”, a bronze sculpture cast based on a forgotten sketch of the artist. Three new iconic ukiyo-e prints by Katsushika Hokusai, exploring the rich tradition of Japanese print creation, are also on display.
Alongside these new acquisitions, 59 loans are displayed in conversation with other pieces in the museum. Claude Monet’s London, Houses of Parliament (Sun Breaking Through the Fog), and Pleasure Boats present two distinct periods within the artist’s career, whilst Edouard Vuillard’s Octagonal self-portrait is one of the major works from the post-impressionist movement. The Pink Dress (or View of Castelnau-le-Lez) by Frédéric Bazille is a beautiful painting representing his first cousin and The Moon-Woman Cuts the Circle by Jackson Pollock.
There is Johannes Vermeer’s interpretation of the German and Italian Renaissance theme of Saint Jerome in his study in The Astronomer (or The Astrologer) and Money Changer and his Wife by Quentin Matsys. Finally, there is Vassily Kandinsky’s Gelb-Rot-Blau.
“This past year has tested all of us in different ways. Reflecting on the year, we give special thanks to our partners for their support and the UAE community for engaging with us on many levels. From world-class exhibitions, drawing classes in the galleries and film screenings for the family to fine dining, yoga and kayaking, there is truly something for every visitor at Louvre Abu Dhabi, and in the coming year, we look forward to welcoming guests from near and far.”Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi
Resource Centre and Research Laboratory The Resource Centre, open to the public from today and offers students, researchers, professors and the general public the opportunity to explore and learn about Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection. Through digital resources, an extensive artwork database, and a library collection in continuous growth that offers almost 5,000 books on the museum’s collection and connected art history, the centre focuses on the exchange and circulation of art and the history of collections and collecting. It is open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 to 17:00. Entry is free and included in the museum’s admission ticket, but visitors also have the option of requesting complimentary entry to the centre at the ticketing desk.
The museum is also in the final stages of completing its Research Laboratory, the country’s first scientific museum laboratory. Scientists, curators, and conservators will have access to state-of-the-art research tools dedicated to analysing the materials of artworks from Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection.
UAE Golden Jubilee Come December, Louvre Abu Dhabi will mark the country’s Golden Jubilee with a unique display of artworks that highlight the unity of the Emirates, as well as a series of public events. The museum will showcase artworks from the UAE spanning ancient times to the present day. There will be artefacts on loan from neighbouring UAE institutions to Sharp Tools, a contemporary film from filmmaker and poet Nujoom Al-Ghanem. Works are on loan from the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Museum, Dubai Municipality, Sharjah Archaeology Authority, Ajman National Museum, Umm Al Quwain National Museum and Ras Al Khaimah National Museum.
“The past four years have allowed us to forge lasting partnerships with many prestigious institutions, facilitating loans to supplement our collection. During this time, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection has grown considerably, with objects handpicked to fit into the museum’s narrative.”Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Scientific, Curatorial and Collection Director
Visitors will also be able to witness the iconic dome transformed into an audio-visual installation reflecting the birth and development of the UAE, to mark the nation’s 50th Jubilee celebrations. Roller-skating sessions, organised in collaboration with Madrollers, will be scheduled over two days and include a performance by DJ Bliss playing nostalgic tunes of the Arabian Gulf with a unique twist. The music will be paired with the projection of archival images and videos (sourced in partnership with Abu Dhabi Media) of the UAE over the past 50 years using dynamic digital wall-mapping to give visitors the impression that they are skating through time.
Regional Partnerships Since 2017, the museum has collaborated with leading regional museums and institutions, including The National Museum of the Sultanate of Oman, which has lent four works to Louvre Abu Dhabi. It includes a monetary treasure of 389 silver Dirham coins from the Abbasid Caliphate of Iraq dating back to the early Islamic period, a rare shell-shaped incense burner from the 12th to 14th centuries, and a vessel and a jar found at Sidamah (al-Waqba).
Louvre Abu Dhabi will, in turn, lend six 16th-century Iznik ceramics from the museum’s collection to The National Museum of Oman. These beautifully ornate ceramics will be on display in the Splendours of Islam Gallery from December 2021 to December 2022 in the exhibition Gardens of Paradise: The Language of Flowers in Iznik Ceramics.
In addition to the national partners, additional regional partners include the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia.
Cultural Programming and Educational Activities From exhibitions, tours, workshops, and masterclasses, to kayaking, yoga sessions and film screenings, visitors can unwind and enjoy a wide range of activities.
In the four years since its opening, more than 8,600 activities and programmes have been designed and delivered to 487,000 people, including over 100,000 students who have participated in onsite and online educational activities. More than 80 percent are Emirati students from government schools. More than 160 senior Emirati citizens, 400 People of Determination, 40 orphans, 90 patients and 7,500 teachers have visited the museum. Finally, more than 40 certified Louvre Abu Dhabi tour guides and museum educators now offer services in over 19 languages.