In 2007, an intergovernmental agreement was signed between France and the United Arab Emirates to establish the framework for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The museum is currently being prepared by French and Emirati experts, with the support of major French museums. The projected opening date is December 2, 2105, the United Arab Emirate’s 44th National Day.
The future museum aims to be universal, but this exhibition does not. Rather, it is a first glimpse of some of the major artworks that will be on display in the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The exhibition “Birth of a Museum” is a unique opportunity to see, well, the birth of a museum.
The architect Jean Nouvel designed the museum's architecture, and the building is currently being constructed. It will feature an enormous dome, with geometric holes that will let through a “rain of light”. A model of the dome and a video projection of the interior start off the exhibition.
Arranged chronologically, the artworks on display here are stunning. From prehistoric objects to contemporary art, the exhibition aims to make connections between different civilizations for a new regard on universality.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
I’m really into wearing yellow gold at the moment, and I think this would fit nicely into my wardrobe. I love the lion cubs on the bottom.
The “Bonifilius” basin
This 12th century basin features one of the first representations of a porcupine, a fact which utterly charms me.
Section of the Holy Qur’an
The manuscript is unbelievably beautiful, with texts going horizontally and diagonally in colors and gold. It is always amazing to see such delicate objects that have survived for centuries.
This beautiful ewer was made in India, and it was made awesome in Italy with the additions of the lion, human figure and crowned duck.
I love Paul Gauguin’s paintings of Brittany, especially this one which was very influenced by Japanese prints.
Untitled Anthropometry (ANT 110)
Yves Klein observed that one day he “realized that my hands, the working implements that I used to manipulate color, were no longer sufficient”. His response to this? He and his wife became “living paintbrushes”.
I can’t say I entirely understand this cycle of nine paintings by Cy Twombly, but I absolutely love it. You enter into the room and you are surrounded by huge panels of brilliant blue with wild white brushstrokes. It is exciting and takes you somewhere, even if you’re not sure where.
Birth of a Museum at the Musée du Louvre (until July 28, 2014)
Address: Palais du Louvre 75001 Paris ∣ Métro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (line 1 or 7) ∣ Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 9am to 6pm, open until 9:45pm on Wednesday and Friday
For a taste of Abu Dhabi (and to see a photo of the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome being built), read about my recent trip here.