Louvre Abu Dhabi, Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–8pm, Thursday–Friday 10am–10pm
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From One Louvre to Another, curated by Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director, Musée du Louvre, and Juliette Trey, Curator, Prints and Drawings Department, Musée du Louvre, 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 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 to 2nd century ACE Roman statue, Diana of Versailles, formerly found in the grounds of the great palace.
It then moves on to the Louvre palace, a 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 biannually in the Salon Carré. This section 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.
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. From One Louvre to Another concludes with the acquisitions made under Louis XVI for this future museum, which would 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.
An epilogue to the exhibition evokes the transformation of the Louvre into a universal museum of the 19th century, with the discovery of periods of history and peoples little known in Europe at the time. 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.
In addition, Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire, an exhibition featuring four contemporary works of art of different media created by UAE-based artists in collaboration with renowned French manufacturers, is also now open through March 25, 2018 at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Forum.
With a view to a mutual inspiration, the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres opened its doors to Talin Hazbar to work on ceramics. The manufacturing company of Beauvais embarked upon a collaboration with Khalid Shafar, around the art of weaving. The luxury glassware firm of Saint-Just teamed up with Zeinab Alhashemi, and the MTX Broderie Architecturale engaged with Vikram Divecha.
Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire is part of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme established in 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.
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s 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.