Abu Dhabi: Celebrating its fourth anniversary, the Louvre Abu Dhabi announced that it now has 100 new artworks for visitors to enjoy.
While 56 of the new pieces on display are new acquisitions by the iconic museum, 59 others are on loan at the moment. These new pieces are part of the museum’s goal to continue playing a leading role in the UAE’s dynamic arts and culture ecosystem.
“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. The museum’s projects and achievements over the past four years have affirmed its position as an indispensable community hub and a landmark of the city. Taking every challenge as an opportunity to create something new for all audiences, Louvre Abu Dhabi has been integral to the strengthening of our cultural sector as Abu Dhabi’s creative and cultural offering continues to evolve and transform,” said Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman at the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi), the emirate’s culture sector regulator.
‘Overcoming the many challenges’
“This past year has tested all of us in different ways. Through innovation and determination, the museum overcame the many challenges faced by all museums during the pandemic and remains steadfast in its mission to engage all visitors, safely, in exploring stories of universal cultural connections. Reflecting on the year, we convey special thanks to our partners for their support as well as to 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,” said Manuel Rabate, the museum’s director.
Amongst the masterpieces newly acquired by the museum is French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour’s A Girl Blowing on a Brazier, which is part of the small corpus of paintings attributed to the artist and which, until now, has been in private hands. Another piece, The Bolt, by French painter Jean-Honore Fragonard, which is considered as one of the most famous paintings by the artist, is a symbol of the libertine spirit of the 18th century and reflects the state of mind adopted by the painters of the era. Visitors will be able to appreciate two new works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin: The Call to Arms, which commemorates the Parisians’ courage in defending their city against the German invasion during the Franco-Prussian War; and Monument of Victor Hugo, a bronze sculpture cast on the 150th anniversary of Hugo’s death, based on a forgotten sketch of the artist. Three new iconic ukiyo-e prints by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, exploring the rich tradition of Japanese print creation, are also on display.
Pieces on loan
Alongside these new acquisitions, 59 loans from partner museums are displayed in conjunction 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 French artist’s career, while Edouard Vuillard’s Octagonal self-portrait is one of the major works by the French painter from the post-impressionist movement. The Pink Dress (or View of Castelnau-le-Lez) by French impressionist Frederic Bazille is a beautiful painting representing his first cousin, and The Moon-Woman Cuts the Circle by American artist Jackson Pollock portrays biomorphic forms, whimsical figures and abstract ornaments in which viewers recognise the profile of a native American wearing feathers, the performance of a dance, and a dagger. The extreme attention to detail typical of Dutch masters can be seen in Johannes Vermeer’s interpretation of the German and Italian Renaissance theme of Saint Jerome in his study in The Astronomer (or The Astrologer), as well as in Money Changer and his Wife by Quentin Matsys — a genre painting carrying a religious and moral message. Finally, Vassily Kandinsky’s Gelb-Rot-Blau represents one of the most important works of the Bauhaus period.
‘Forging lasting partnerships’
“Louvre Abu Dhabi was born out of the desire to present the world with stories of cultural connections, by bringing together artworks from different times and civilisations. 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. Visitor experience remains at the heart of our work, and we hope to ensure that every one of our visitors comes away with a personal and unique experience after having explored the stories our galleries have to tell,” said Dr Souraya Noujaim, scientific, curatorial and collections director at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, the museum has launched two new research arms. The Resource Centre, open to the public from today, offers students, researchers, professors and the general public the opportunity to explore and learn about Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection. Visitors can get access to materials about the documentation, study and preservation of the museum’s collection. The Centre will remain open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 5pm, and entry is included in the museum’s admission ticket. Visitors also have the option to request a complimentary entry to the Resource Centre at the ticketing desk.
The museum is also in the final stages of completing its Research Laboratory, the first scientific museum laboratory in the UAE. 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.
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Golden Jubilee celebrations
Next month, the museum will also mark the country’s Golden Jubilee with a special display of artworks from the UAE that will highlight the unity of the emirates, as well as a series of public events. Works are on loan from nine national partners from the UAE, including the DCT Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Museum, Dubai Municipality, and Sharjah Archaeology Authority. Sharp Tools, a contemporary film from Emirati filmmaker and poet Nujoom Alghanem, will also be screened.
In addition, the iconic dome will be transformed into an audio-visual installation reflecting the birth and development of the UAE in order to mark the nation’s 50th year celebrations.