Louvre Abu Dhabi

About Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a planned museum, to be located in Abu Dhabi, UAE. On Tuesday 7 March 2007, the Louvre in Paris announced that a new Louvre museum would be completed by 2012 in Abu Dhabi. This is part of a thirty year agreement between the city of Abu Dhabi and the French government. The museum is to be located on the Saadiyat Island complex, and will be approximately 24,000 square metres (260,000 sq ft) in size. The final cost of the construction is expected to be between €83 million and €108 million.

Artwork from around the world will be showcased at the museum, with particular focus placed upon bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. However, the construction of the museum has caused much controversy in the art world, as many objections have been raised as to the motives of the Louvre in this deal.

The thirty-year agreement, signed by French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, will prompt the construction of a Louvre museum on Saadiyat Island, near central Abu Dhabi, in exchange for US$1.3 billion.

The establishment of this museum has been approved by the French Parliament on 9 October 2007. The architect for the building will be Jean Nouvel and the engineers are Buro Happold. Jean Nouvel also designed the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District will house the largest single cluster of world-class cultural assets. In addition to the Louvre Abu Dhabi these will include: the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, to be designed by United Kingdom-based construction company Foster and Partners under the direction of Lord Norman Foster; the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi contemporary arts museum – the world’s largest Guggenheim and the only museum to be located in the Middle East; a performing arts centre designed by Zaha Hadid; a maritime museum with concept design by Tadao Ando and a number of arts pavilions.

Cost estimates

US$525 million was paid by the city of Abu Dhabi for the use of the Louvre brand name, with US$195 million payable within a month. US$247 million will be paid for the loan of artworks from the Louvre over a ten year period, with a total of between two hundred and three hundred artworks expected. The Parisian Louvre will also be providing management advice to its Middle Eastern counterpart, at a cost of US$214.5 million. An additional US$253.5 million will be paid for various special exhibitions.

A total of four exhibitions will be hosted per year over a period of fifteen years. The city of Abu Dhabi will also make a direct donation of US$32.5 million to the Louvre to refurbish a wing of the Pavillon de Flore for the display of international art.

Design and construction

The museum will be designed as a “seemingly floating dome structure”; its web-patterned dome allowing the sun to filter through. The overall effect is meant to represent “rays of sunlight passing through date palm fronds in an oasis.” The total area of the museum will be approximately 24,000 square metres (260,000 sq ft). The permanent collection will occupy 6,000 square metres (65,000 sq ft), and the temporary exhibitions will take place over 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft)

Construction works at Louvre, Abu Dhabi officially started on May 26, 2009. Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated an exihibition titled, Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi at the Gallery One of the Emirates Palace Hotel which includes 19 works of art bought over the last 18 months for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as well as loans from the French national museums to mark the beginning of the construction work.

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