اللوفر أبو ظبي

( Louvre Abu Dhabi )

The Louvre Abu Dhabi (Arabic: اللوفر أبوظبي, romanized: al-lūfr ʔabū ẓaby; French: Louvre Abou Dabi) is an art museum located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It runs under an agreement between the UAE and France, signed in March 2007, that allows it to use the Louvre's name until 2037, and has been described by the Louvre as "France's largest cultural project abroad." It is approximately 24,000 square metres (260,000 sq ft) in size, with 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft) of galleries, making it the largest art museum in the Arabian peninsula. Artworks from around the world are showcased at the museum, with stated intent to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art.

By 2019, the Louvre Abu Dhabi had already attracted 2 million visitors, making it the most visited museum in the Arab world.

Project development  Model of the Louvre project and its surroundings, 2011 Aerial view of the museum location, early 2010s

In 2005 the United Arab Emirates put forward to the French government the idea of creating a museum in the Emirates bearing the name of the Louvre. Discussions were initiated in June 2005, when an Abu Dhabi delegation led by Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage visited Paris and met counterparts at the Louvre. A month later, another delegation including Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then Minister of Information and Culture of the United Arab Emirates, discussed the project with interlocutors in the French government, including Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.[1] Also in the summer of 2005, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a letter about the project to France's president Jacques Chirac. Formal negotiations on the project between the two countries started in the summer of 2006.[2]: 12 

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi authorities in 2006 selected Jean Nouvel, known among other projects for having designed the Arab World Institute in Paris, as the building's architect. They initially commissioned his firm to design a generic museum of classical art or civilisation, without specific reference to the Louvre while discussions with the French authorities were still ongoing.[3][4] The choice of Nouvel had been first suggested by Thomas Krens, then the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and adviser to Abu Dhabi on the development of Saadiyat Island.[5]

The negotiations and the project itself were publicly revealed by French daily Le Monde in September 2006.[1] The project initially generated controversy, including an op-ed and petition against it by curators Françoise Cachin, Jean Clair and Roland Recht [fr].[6][7]

Louvre director Henri Loyrette was also reported to have initially opposed the project, which in the early phase he did not defend or promote publicly. But the Louvre's position became more favorable in the course of the contract negotiation, as it managed to secure significant benefits for itself.[3]

The agreement detailing the partnership and licensing arrangements was signed on 6 March 2007 by respective representatives of the French and UAE governments.[8] That agreement was ratified by the French Parliament on 9 October 2007, after Jacques Chirac had been replaced as French President by Nicolas Sarkozy.[9] Even after leaving the presidency, Chirac remained a major supporter of the project.[10][11][12]

When announced in 2007, the museum was expected to open in 2012.[13] On 29 October 2011, the project managing agency, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), announced that the museum's opening would be delayed but gave no new date.[14]

According to the UAE newspapers Gulf News and The National, the delay came from a review of the emirate's economic strategy.[15][16] In January 2012 it was announced that the Louvre Abu Dhabi's opening date would be 2015.[17]

Construction  The dome under construction in January 2015 Platforms in the sea water under the Louvre's dome

Construction works at Louvre Abu Dhabi officially started on 26 May 2009. The piling and enabling works package was awarded to the German specialized company Bauer International FZE;[18] the total of 4536 piles in steel and reinforced concrete were completed on 3 August 2010.[19][20][21]

Construction on the main phase of the museum began in early 2013 by a consortium headed by Arabtec, Constructora San José and Oger Abu Dhabi, under a $653 million contract. This stage included waterproofing and the two basement levels, along with four concrete pillars that will support the 7,000-tonne dome.[22] Work on the construction of the gallery spaces and initial preparation for the dome began in the fourth quarter of 2013. On 5 December 2013, the first element of the museum's canopy was lifted into place.[23] On 17 March 2014 TDIC announced the completion of the first permanent gallery structure to mark the first anniversary of the start of construction. At this time, it was claimed that a total of ten million man hours had been worked and 120,538 cubic meters of concrete used.[24] On 22 September 2014, the final super-sized element in the canopy was fitted in place, marking a significant milestone in the museum's construction phase. In October, The Tourism & Development Investment Company announced that the Louvre Abu Dhabi was more than 50 percent complete.[25]

Prefiguration exhibitions

The Louvre Abu Dhabi first started sharing its collection with the public through an exhibition at the Gallery One of the Emirates Palace, entitled "Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi." It was inaugurated by Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Nicolas Sarkozy on 26 May 2009, the same day as the construction work officially started on Saadiyat Island. The exhibition presented the first 19 acquisitions for the institution, including a Mamluk Quran from the 14th century, a 5th-century Fibula from Domagnano, a Virgin and Child by Bellini, and Mondrian's Composition with blue, red, yellow and black from 1922.[17]

A second exhibition, "Birth of a Museum", opened at the exhibition space Manarat Al Saadiyat in May 2013, ending in August that year. The first large-scale preview of the collection, it featured 130 works acquired by the government of Abu Dhabi for the permanent collection. They included a never-before-seen work by Picasso, a Bronze Age terracotta statue from Cyprus, along with artifacts from Greece, Turkey, Japan and Syria.[26]

In May 2014, the Birth of a Museum exhibition, featuring works shown in Abu Dhabi and a number of new acquisitions, opened at the Louvre in Paris. A number of new works were presented, including Chirisei Kyubiki by the Japanese artist Kazuo Shiraga and painted in 1960.[27]

Inauguration and aftermath

The museum was eventually inaugurated on 8 November 2017 by French President Emmanuel Macron, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince (and de facto ruler) Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Prime Minister and Emir of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.[28] Other personalities present at the inauguration included Mohammed VI of Morocco and President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani.[29] The museum was opened to the public three days later. It welcomed more than one million visitors in its first full year of operations, of which 30-40 percent were UAE residents and 60-70 percent from abroad (mainly France, Germany, China, the UK, the US, India and the GCC countries); this made it the 77th most visited museum worldwide in 2018.[30]

In November 2019, the waterfront boulevard on which the museum is located on the eastern end of Saadiyat Island was named after former French President Jacques Chirac, in recognition of his role in the project and more generally in the development of links between France and the UAE.[31]

In February 2020, a Fouquet's restaurant opened as the main catering amenity inside the museum, with a menu created in partnership with celebrity chef Pierre Gagnaire.[32]

^ a b Jacques Follorou; Emmanuel de Roux (7 September 2006). "Des musées pour les émirs : le Louvre s'exporte dans le Golfe". Le Monde. ^ Cite error: The named reference Senat was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Vincent Noce (12 April 2013). "Louvre Abou Dhabi : les mille et un ennuis". Libération. ^ Mara Corradi (15 February 2018). "Jean Nouvel: Louvre Abu Dhabi". Floornature Architecture & Surfaces. ^ Jean Nouvel (2019). Louvre Abu Dhabi : Histoire d'un projet d'architecture. Abu Dhabi: Louvre Abu Dhabi & Skira. p. 17. ^ Françoise Cachin; Jean Clair; Roland Recht (12 December 2006). "Les musées ne sont pas à vendre". Le Monde. ^ Seth Graebner (Summer 2014), "The Louvre Abu Dhabi: French Universalism, Exported", L'Esprit Créateur, Johns Hopkins University Press, 54:2 (2): 186–199, JSTOR 26378905 ^ Lin Noueihed (6 March 2007). "France signs deal to open Louvre in Abu Dhabi". Reuters. ^ Gilles Cuniberti (21 October 2007). "Choice of Law In Convention Establishing Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi". Conflicts of Laws.net. ^ "Louvre Abu Dhabi to be created within the Saadiyat Island Cultural District". Mena Report. 8 September 2008. Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008. ^ Heliot, Armelle (15 October 2007). "Le Louvre Abu Dhabi sous une coupole aérienne". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 16 September 2008. ^ Gomez, Edward (2008). "A Louvre for Abu Dhabi? It's a done deal". SFGate.com. Retrieved 16 September 2008. ^ "Le "Louvre Abu Dhabi" verra bien le jour". Le Figaro (in French). 9 October 2007. ^ "Statement by T.D.I.C., October, 29, 2011". Archived from the original on 9 November 2011. ^ Showcase projects yield to more urgent needs, Gulf News, 10 November 2011 ^ "TDIC outlines new roll-out of museums". The National. Archived from the original on 31 October 2011. ^ a b Sara Hamdan (26 September 2012). "After a Sputtering Start, the Louvre Abu Dhabi Project Gathers Pace". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2013. ^ "Bauer International FZE". www.baueruae.ae. ^ Eman Mohammed (26 May 2009). "Construction of historic Louvre Abu Dhabi museum starts". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009. ^ Vogel, Carol (26 May 2009). "Abu Dhabi Gets a Sampler of World Art". New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2009. ^ "Louvre Abu Dhabi gets green light". Gulf News. 10 October 2007. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008. ^ James Langton (24 May 2013). "A modern marvel in the making". The National. Abu Dhabi Media. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013. ^ Langton, James (10 December 2013). "Louvre Abu Dhabi chalks up another towering achievement". The National. ^ "From a patch of sand to the outline of a masterpiece". The National. 16 March 2014. ^ Langton, James (21 October 2014). "The story of the final piece of the Louvre Abu Dhabi". The National. ^ Emily Cleland (17 April 2013). "Sneak peek at treasures of Louvre Abu Dhabi". The National. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2015. ^ Nick Leech (29 April 2014). "Abu Dhabi's Birth of a Museum exhibition opens at Louvre in Paris". The National. Retrieved 9 November 2015. ^ Langton, James (8 November 2017). "Emmanuel Macron and UAE leaders formally open Louvre Abu Dhabi". The National. Archived from the original on 30 August 2020. ^ "Inauguration du Louvre Abu Dhabi, un musée "contre l'obscurantisme"". Le Point. 9 November 2017. ^ Cite error: The named reference Rabate was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Dajani, Haneen (11 November 2019). "Street named in honour of Jacques Chirac at Louvre Abu Dhabi ceremony". The National. ^ "From Paris to Abu Dhabi, a French culinary institution, Fouquet's, opens at Louvre Abu Dhabi". Groupe Barriere. 18 February 2020.
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