Openings Exhibitions Museums France

Louvre Abu Dhabi's growing collection coming to the Louvre

Selection of works purchased so far to go on show in Paris

The architect Jean Nouvel and Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan inside the architectural model for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Photo: courtesy Abu Dhabi Toursim & Culture Authority

More than 160 works of art purchased so far for the Louvre Abu Dhabi will go on show in the Musée du Louvre in Paris in May, the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority announced today. “Birth of a Museum” (2 May-28 July), which was shown last year in Abu Dhabi, travels to the Paris museum that is the lead partner in the Gulf project.

The collection ranges from antiquities through to Modern and contemporary works by artists including Gauguin, Mondrian, Calder and Twombly. When the Jean Nouvel-designed museum opens in 2015, the permanent collection will be supplemented by loans from the Louvre and other leading French museums. It is being described as the first “universal museum in the Arab world”.

“Birth of a Museum” will be co-organised by Vincent Pomarède, the director of paintings at the Louvre, Laurence des Cars, the director of the Musée du d'Orangerie, who was formerly closely involved in the Gulf project, and Khalid Abdulkhaliq Abdulla, an Abu Dhabi-based curator. To work out the eventual installation of paintings, manuscripts and objects in Abu Dhabi, a full-scale mock up of one of the 64,000 sq. m museum's galleries has been built.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is working closely with the British Museum in London to build the Zayed National Museum, also on Saadiyat Island. The British Museum and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority decline to reveal details of the collection being acquired for that museum, which will include galleries devoted to Islam, science and the environment while celebrating the life and achievements of the founder of the United Arab Emirates, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is the third Saadiyat Island museum planned with the aim of making the emirate one of the world's major cultural destinations.

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