Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced approximately 300 loans to come from major French institutions for its opening year, which will complement the museum’s growing collection and universal narrative.
The loans include Leonardo da Vinci’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (circa 1495), also known as La Belle Ferronnière, which is being loaned by the Musée du Louvre, Edouard Manet’s The Fife Player (1866), Claude Monet’s The Saint-Lazare Station (1877) to be loaned by Musée d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, a rare salt cellar in ivory from the Benin Kingdom, from Musée du quai Branly and Henri Matisse’s Still Life with Magnolia (1941) from Centre Pompidou.
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the organisation with the mandate for Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “These outstanding loans from our French partners represent the collaboration and exchange, symbolic of Louvre Abu Dhabi and its progress to date. This will be the first time many of these works will travel to Abu Dhabi or even the Middle East, and are a rare opportunity to see important art from French museums in dialogue with the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection. Ultimately, we hope to offer visitors a unique experience from a new perspective that underlines the universal spirit of the entire project.”
Ms. Fleur Pellerin, French Minister of Culture and Communication, declared that “the announcement of the loans from French museums foreseen in the framework of the intergovernmental agreement signed between the United Arab Emirates and France in 2007 for the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi represents a major step in this great project. It is an acknowledgement of both the extraordinary richness of our national collections and the expertise of our museums. These masterpieces loaned by the 13 partner French museums and public institutions will implement a new dialogue between different world cultures and civilisations, in a spirit of universalism that France is proud to promote throughout the world.”
The selection was overseen by TCA Abu Dhabi, Agence France-Muséums (AFM) and the lending museums in line with the museum’s scientific and cultural programme. French institutions which will loan works for the opening year include Musée du Louvre; Musée d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie; Centre Pompidou; Musée du quai Branly; Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet; Château de Versailles; Musée Rodin; Bibliothèque nationale de France; Musée de Cluny – musée national du Moyen Âge; Cité de la Céramique Sèvres; Musée des Arts décoratifs; and Musée d’archéologie nationale de St Germain en Laye and Château de Fontainebleau. Most of these are stakeholders of AFM, the organisation established for the realisation of Louvre Abu Dhabi. In addition to the loan of art works, its role includes the definition of the museum’s scientific and cultural programme, assistance with project management including visitor policies and most importantly knowledge transfer and the training of UAE nationals in the field of museums, including internships in the French museums that comprise AFM.