Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Infobox building
building_name = Louvre Abu Dhabi

caption = Model of the future Louvre Abu Dhabi
imagesize = 175
type = Art museum
architectural_style = Modern
cost = €83 million - €108 million
latitude = 24.283515
longitude = 54.221384
completion_date = 2012 – 2013 [citeweb|url=http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/10/11/10159435.html|title=Louvre Abu Dhabi gets green light |date=10 October 2007|publisher=Gulf News|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-08]
location = Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
architect = Jean Nouvel
structural_engineer = Buro Happold
website = none

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 convert|24000|m2|ft2 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.cite web | url = http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,470356,00.html | title = Art in the Desert | publisher = Spiegel Online |date = 2007-07-03 | accessdate=2008-09-08] The contract prohibits the creation of any similar operation with the name of the Louvre in any of the other emirates of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, or Iraq. [cite web|url=http://de51gn.com/2008/07/30/louvre-abu-dhabis-exclusive-details/|title=Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exclusive deal|date=30 July 2008 |publisher=de51gn.com|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-09] French President Jacques Chirac praised the museum deal with Abu Dhabi, saying it reflects "a certain idea of the world" in which each party to the accord, "proud of its roots and of its identity, is conscious of the equal dignity of all cultures." [cite web|url=http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/20070307.FIG000000146_le_louvre_abu_dhabi_sous_une_coupole_aerienne.html|title=Le Louvre Abu Dhabi sous une coupole aérienne|last=Heliot|first=Armelle |date=15/10/2007|publisher="Le Figaro"|language=French|accessdate=2008-09-16] [cite web|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=15archive/&entry_id=14365|title=A Louvre for Abu Dhabi? It's a done deal|last=Gomez|first=Edward|date=2008|publisher=SFGate.com|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-16]


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. [cite web|url=http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/20071009.WWW000000436_le_louvre_abu_dhabi_verra_bien_le_jour.html|title=Le "Louvre Abu Dhabi" verra bien le jour|publisher="Le Figaro"|language=French|published=9 October 2007] [citeweb|url=http://www.meed.com/uae/news/2008/01/louvre_abu_dhabi_agreement_signed.html|title=Abu Dhabi and Paris sign museam deal|last=Robinson|first=Victoria|date=7 January 2008 |publisher=MEED|accessdate=2008-09-12] Jean Nouvel also designed the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

The museum will be part of a US$27 billion tourist and cultural development that will be established on Saadiyat Island, a complex which will also include three other museums, including a Guggenheim Museum. [cite web|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i5X29Np917I-YpiaA_XWq8oiGDZg|title=Feu vert du parlement français au futur musée "Louvre Abou Dhabi"|publisher="AFP"] According to UAE interacts: "The French Museums agency will operate in collaboration with the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), which is behind the transformation of Saadiyat Island. It will be chaired by French financier and member of the country's Académie des Beaux-Arts, Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere, publisher of the periodical Revue des Deux Mondes." Bruno Maquart, the former Executive Director of Centre Pompidou, will take the position of Executive Director."cite web|url=http://www.uaeinteract.com/docs/French_cultural_agency_to_steer_work_on_Louvre_Abu_Dhabi/26498.htm|title=French cultural agency to steer work on Louvre Abu Dhabi|date=13/08/2007|publisher=UAE Interact|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-17]


Saadiyat Island's Cultural District will house the largest single cluster of world-class cultural assets. [cite web|url=http://www.ameinfo.com/143289.html|title=French Culture Minister heads delegation to UAE capital to seal Louvre Abu Dhabi operating framework|date=7 January - 2008 |publisher=AME Info| accessdate=2008-09-16] 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 Noramn 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 pavillions. [cite web|url=http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2007/saadiyat_cultural_district/projects/louvre_abu_dhabi|title=Louvre Abu Dhabi| date=2007| publisher= Nafas Art Magazine | accessdate=2008-09-26]


US$525 million was paid by Abu Dhabi to be associated with the Louvre name, and an additional $747 million in exchange for art loans, special exhibitions and management advice.cite news | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/07/arts/design/07louv.html | publisher = New York Times | title= Riding, Alan | date = 2007-03-07| accessdate=2008-09-09] The museum is expected to cost between €83 million and €108 million to build, though estimates vary.

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. [cite web|url=http://www.dilanchian.com.au/ip/louvre-abu-dhabi-museum-licensing-shifts-more-than-revenues.html|title=Louvre Abu Dhabi|last=Dilanchian|first=Noric|date=13 March 2007|publisher=Dilanchian Lawyers and Consultants|accessdate=2008-09-08] 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.


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."cite web | url=http://www.designbuild-network.com/projects/louvre-abu-dhabi/ | title =DesignBuild Network | year = 2008 | publisher = designbuild-network.com | accessdate=2008-09-08.] [cite web|url = http://www.wallpaper.com/gallery/Best_new_grooming_product/1436|title=Louvre, Abu Dhabi | date = 2007-05-07 | publisher = Wallpaper | accessdate=2008-09-16] The total area of the museum will be approximately convert|24000|m2|ft2. The permanent collection will occupy convert|6000|m2|ft2, and the temporary exhibitions will take place over convert|2000|m2|ft2,


Questions have been raised as to the nature of the artworks to be displayed at the museum. However, according to the National: "the type and nature of the exhibits planned for the Louvre Abu Dhabi have been affected to no extent by the fact the new museum would be in a Muslim country, said Mr. Loyrette."

It has been noted that the museum will showcase work from multiple French museums, including the Louvre, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musée d'Orsay and Palace of Versailles. However, Donnedieu de Vabres, the French Culture Minister, stated at the announcement that the Paris Louvre "would not sell any of its 35,000-piece collection currently on display".


The deal has sparked much controversy in both artistic and academic circles. According to Maymanah Farhat, "the controversy that has surfaced in France is led by art historian Didier Rykner, one of the most outspoken critics of the French–Emirati deal." [cite web|url=http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/1730|title=The Louvre Abu Dhabi, Exploitation and the Politics of the Museum Industry|last=Farhat |first=Maymanah|date=27 March 2007|publisher=ZNet|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-08] A petition against the deal, signed by 4,650 museum experts, archaeologists and art historians, has insisted that "museums are not for sale." [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6421205.stm|title=Gulf Louvre deal riles French art world |last=Astier|first=Henri|date=2007-03-07|publisher=BBC News|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-08] [cite web|url=http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2007/03/06/louvre_museum_to_build_a_branch_in_uae/|title=France's Louvre branching to Abu Dhabi|last=Krane|first=Jim|date=2007-03-06|publisher=Boston.com |accessdate=2008-09-17] The Louvre has been accused of behaving "like a corporation with a clearly-defined strategy: profit maximization." [cite web|url=http://blogs.usyd.edu.au/bizart/2007/07/the_desert_louvre_a_change_in.html|title=The ‘Desert Louvre’ – a change in museum policy?|last = Koek| first=Marjolein |date=2007-07-06| publisher=University of Sydney|accessdate = 2008-09-16] In the words of Didier Rykner:Quote|'We have lost a battle, but the combat continues."|Didier Rykner


According to the New York Times, "Henri Loyrette, the president and director of the Louvre, has responded to growing criticism of the museum’s new policy of establishing footholds abroad, arguing that the Louvre cannot ignore the 'internationalization' of museums." [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/09/arts/09arts.html?_r=1&ref=arts&oref=slogin|title=Arts, Briefly|last=Van Gelder|first=Lawrence|date=9 January 2007|publisher=New York Times|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-08] He had the following to say in the museum's defence: Quote|"It’s a fair fee for the concession of the name. This tutelary role deserves reward. It’s normal."|Henri Loyrette
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi said: Quotation|"This is a major achievement in Abu Dhabi's vision to become a world-class destination bridging global cultures. This accord further strengthens international dialogue, which will embrace all cultures. This initiative is a unique milestone in international cooperation and bilateral relations and a tribute to the longstanding and friendly ties our two nations have enjoyed. It also creates an enriching environment to be treasured by and to educate generations to come."|Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

See also

* Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
*Saadiyat Island


External links

* [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/07/arts/design/07louv.html?_r=1&oref=slogin New York Times article on the Louvre Abu Dhabi]
* [http://www.latribunedelart.com The website "La Tribune Del Art", a protest webpage]

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