From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first special exhibition opens 21 December, exploring the history of France’s Musée du Louvre

december 22, 2017

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 19 December 2017: Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first special exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, will open to the public on 21 December 2017 and run until 7 April 2018. The exhibition traces the history of France’s Musée du Louvre in the 18th century through 150 paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and other works of art from the world-renowned collections of the Musée du Louvre and the Château de Versailles.


From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone tells the story of the creation of the Musée du Louvre two centuries ago, when Europe’s first museums were founded to share access to magnificent royal collections with the public. Divided into three sections, the exhibition explores the royal collections at Versailles under Louis XIV, the Louvre as a palace for artists, and the creation of the Musée du Louvre. The first museum of its kind in the Arab world, Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on 11 November. It offers a new perspective on the history of art in a globalised world. Alongside its collection of artworks and artefacts inits galleries spanning the entirety of human history, the museum will present four special exhibitions a year organised by the French museum partners and Agence France-Muséums as per the intergovernmental agreement for 15 years between the Government of Abu Dhabi and France.

HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “The opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi is a momentous achievement of which the UAE is very proud.
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s programme of first exhibitions will tell stories from around the world, reflecting and building upon the diverse themes of the permanent galleries. It is fitting that the inaugural exhibition explores the creation of the Musée du Louvre, an institution which shares Louvre Abu Dhabi’s universal values.”

Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “Louvre Abu Dhabi’s vision is to be a place where we stimulate imaginations and open minds to new connections while redefining what an art museum can be. Our inaugural exhibition captures an extraordinary story: the birth of the world’s most important museum. The opening of the Musée du Louvre was a transformational milestone in history. It’s significance as a world treasure cannot be underestimated. This prescient first exhibition is timely as it captures our own values and principles of hope and collaboration. Following the museum’s historic recent opening, we are moving into a new period, offering our visitors an exciting programme of exhibitions and events. We are a place of incredible vitality which is also creating its’ own reputation of all that is good in art and culture.” Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of Musée du Louvre and chief curator of the exhibition, commented: “As a new Louvre has been created in Abu Dhabi, it seemed crucial to us to evoke the history of the creation of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, more than 2 centuries ago. Tracing the process that led to the opening of the museum in 1793 allows light to be shed on the contemporary history of museums and puts into perspective the roots and ideals shared by the Louvre Museum and Louvre Abu Dhabi.” From One Louvre to Another begins with Versailles in the late 17th century, showing how the royal collections were displayed in the gardens, the state apartments, and the king’s private apartment. Notable works displayed in this section will include Jean Garnier’s stunning oil painting Portrait of Louis XIV with the allegory of good government (1670-72), and the 1st-2nd century AD Roman statue, Diana of Versailles, formerly found in the grounds of the great palace.
It then moves on to the Louvre palace, a great hive of artistic activity in the 18th century, home to artists’ studios, the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and the Salon, a contemporary art exhibition that was held in the Salon Carré every other year. A section devoted to the workshops housed within the Louvre palace features such items of master craftsmanship as the Clock of the Creation of the World, by astronomer and mechanist Claude-Siméon Passemant and silversmith François-Thomas Germain. Nicolas Bernard Lépicié’s painting The Young Draughtsman (1772) is an example of output from members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, also housed in the palace. An epilogue to the exhibition evokes the transformation of the Louvre into a universal museum in the 19th century, with the discovery of periods of history and peoples that were not familiar in Europe at the time. A highlight is the Barberini vase, a copper work masterpiece executed for an Ayyubid prince who reigned in Aleppo between 1239 and 1260. This section aims to inspire visitors to reflect upon what a universal museum is, and the parallels between Musée du Louvre and Louvre Abu Dhabi. During the 18th century, the French Crown owned the largest art collection in Europe. It became clear that the Louvre, dedicated to the arts, was the ideal location for a museum that would give an opportunity for everyone to study and view the royal collections. The exhibition concludes with the acquisitions and commissions made under Louis XVI for this future museum, which would finally open during the French Revolution, in 1793. Among these are a Japanese porcelain vase and cover decorated in the Kakiemon style (c 1770) and a sculpture of Montesquieu by Clodion, part of the Great Men of France series.

The exhibition’s scenography ingeniously recreates the outdoor lighting of the gardens at Versailles and the lavishness of the château’s apartments, bringing to life the hustle and bustle of the artists’ studios within the Louvre, the crowded fashion in which paintings were hung for the Salons, and the eclecticism of the Musée du Louvre’s collections in the nineteenth century. Short immersive films enhance the experience. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of a unique collaboration between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab
Emirates, and France. Its ongoing special exhibitions programme is organised in collaboration with French partner museums. This rich and diverse programme will complement the museum’s permanent collection and enhance its universal narrative, which focuses on shared human stories across civilisations and cultures. From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone is curated by Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director, Musée du Louvre, and Juliette Trey, Curator, Prints and Drawings Department, Musée du Louvre.

In addition, Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire will also open on 21 December at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Forum. The display features four contemporary works of art of different media created by UAEbased artists Talin Hazbar, Zeinab Alhashemi, Vikram Divecha, and Kahlid Shafar in collaboration with renowned French manufacturers, which is part of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme established in January 2016 by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Institut Français. Opening hours for the museum galleries and exhibitions are: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am - 8 pm; Thursday and Friday: 10 am - 10 pm. Last entry and purchase of tickets is 30 minutes prior to closing. The museum is closed on Mondays. Special opening hours will be in operation during Ramadan and some holidays. Tickets for the museum cost 60 AED for general admission and 30 AED for visitors ages 13-22 and UAE education professionals. Free entry will apply to members of the museum’s loyalty programme, children under 13 years, ICOM or ICOMOS members, journalists, and guests with special needs as well as their companion. Special exhibitions are open during all public hours and will be free with museum admission.

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Contacts presse

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