Art

Louvre Abu Dhabi Finally Opens

Here’s what to expect from the institution’s long-delayed debut.

Hovering at the edge of Saadiyat Island, the long-awaited Louvre Abu Dhabi opens on Nov. 11 as part of an ambitious cultural district that will include the Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, its 23 galleries house a permanent collection with more than 600 works, including a 6th-century head of Buddha, Giovanni Bellini’s “Madonna and Child,” and nine canvases by Cy Twombly. As a testament to the museum’s global focus, American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer has engraved three monumental marble walls with text drawn from Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, a Mesopotamian tablet, and the French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne, while a collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and France provides loans from 13 leading cultural institutions: the Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, and Bibliothèque Nationale, among others. An inaugural special exhibition, “From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone,” curated by the president-director of the Musée du Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, traces the history of the Louvre and is on display beginning Dec. 21.

Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi 5
Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi
Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi

Jean Nouvel's newly completed Louvre Abu Dhabi presents a striking, multi-planed facade.

Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi

Water features such as this one abutting an interior plaza figure significantly into Nouvel's design.

Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Rain of Light courtyard's partial skylights meld light and shadow.

Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi

Situated on the edge of Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi offers beautiful vistas of the Persian Gulf.

Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi

The domed roof of the Louvre's Emirati outpost glows against the Abu Dhabi skyline.

(Photos: Mohamed Somji) 

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