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Louvre Abu Dhabi to Open on November 11

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES—The Louvre Abu Dhabi announced today that it will open its doors to the public on November 11. Due to construction delays, the inauguration of the Jean Nouvel–designed building has been pushed back a number of times since the project was launched in 2007. Agence France-Muséums, an umbrella organization created to oversee the museum, gave the institution the green light after it passed final inspections in August.

Located in the Saadiyat Cultural District on Saadiyat Island, the museum’s holdings consist of over six hundred artworks. Ranging from prehistorical objects to contemporary pieces, the works will be exhibited among around three hundred items that are currently on loan from thirteen French institutions for the next ten years. Paris’s Louvre has agreed to loan its name to the new Abu Dhabi museum for the next thirty years and six months.

“We are finally going to leave the realms of the imaginary and discover not only the architectural design of Jean Nouvel, but the content of a new museum, conceived under a bilateral agreement that makes it an absolutely unique creation,” Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez told the Art Newspaper.

The museum’s galleries, which will be both chronological and thematic, are subdivided into twelve chapters. Works on display will include some of the first figurative representations, such as the Bactrian Princess statuette created in Central Asia at the end of the third millennium BCE; the sarcophagi of Egyptian Princess Henuttawy, a daughter of Pharaoh Ramesses II and his wife Queen Nefertari; Paul Gauguin’s Children Wrestling, 1888; and a monumental work by Ai Weiwei.

“With a unique global narrative and a vision to explore the history of art in a fresh context, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a place where visitors can come to understand their own and others’ cultures,” director of the museum, Manuel Rabaté, said. “Its ground-breaking architecture complements a presentation of exceptional treasures that represent a snapshot of humanity’s creativity, and paves the way for new discussions.”

Meanwhile, Saadiyat Island and the yet-to-open Guggenheim Abu Dhabi remain controversial.

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September 7, 2017