One Year After Opening, Louvre Abu Dhabi Proves To Be a Booming Success Story

Creating the first roadside gallery ever, championing new Emirati cultural leaders and staging acclaimed international exhibitions are just some of the reasons the museum has been a resounding success.

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Hufton + Crow

Louvre Abu Dhabi has welcomed over 1 million visitors since it opened in November 2017, establishing itself as one of the leading cultural institutions on the global stage. UAE residents, who represent 40 percent of the museum’s total number of visitors, have rapidly adopted the cultural icon on Saadiyat Island and made it a favourite destination to gather with family and friends. The museum, which was created by an exceptional agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France, has also become a global magnet for international visitors who account for 60 percent of visits.

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Hufton+Crow

Designed by Jean Nouvel and inspired by traditional Islamic architecture, with a monumental dome that creates a rain of light effect, the musuem was named as one of the Seven Urban Wonders of the World. And while the architecture itself is enough reason to visit, here is what has been making Louvre Abu Dhabi so popular.

The Exhibitions

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Waleed Shah

Since its opening last year, in partnership with French museum partners and as part of its first season, “A World of Exchanges,” Louvre Abu Dhabi has presented four international exhibitions. In addition to “From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone” and  “Globes: Visions of the World”, the museum has been staging the following, which you can still catch:

Japanese Connections: The Birth Of Modern Décor
Ongoing until December 8

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Waleed Shah

Curated by Isabelle Cahn, General Curator of Paintings at Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, the exhibition traces the influence of the iconic Japanese Ukiyo-e aesthetic on modern French decorative artists, through a presentation of over 40 prints, paintings and screens, including French group, the Nabis and five Japanese Ukiyo-e masters from the 19th and 20th centuries. To coincide with the exhibition, The Manga Lab, a special space for teenagers and young adults to explore Japanese youth culture, will be open until early January 2019 in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s forum.

Animals: Between Real and Imaginary at the Children’s Museum
Ongoing until July 2019

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Waleed Shah

This explores how animals have been represented creatively throughout art history from all eras and regions. Visitors are introduced to a variety of materials and techniques used by the artists to represent real and imaginary animals. A workshop titled “Animal Footprints” allows children to follow the footprints of the animals included in the exhibition and to discover their meaning and the power of their representation in art.

Roads of Arabia: Archeological Treasures from Saudi Arabia
Ongoing until February 16, 2019

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Waleed Shah

The exhibition explores the rich history of the Arabian Peninsula through archaeological and cultural artifacts, including a selection of rare pieces from the United Arab Emirates exhibited for the first time. The exhibition was conceived through cooperation between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, where it was first presented in 2010. It has received critical acclaim internationally and introduced Arabia's cultural and historical heritage to over 5 million visitors worldwide.

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Hufton+Crow

 “CO-LAB” an exhibition showcasing new commissions by UAE-based artists in collaboration with French manufacturers, and the family-friendly “Traveling Shapes and Colors” are two other feats. Visitors will be able to enjoy the museum’s Rain of Light Festival (11– 15 December), a performing arts festival to celebrate the exciting first season. The festival will feature concerts, ballet, street dance battles, circus, street art performances and traditional music.

The First Roadside Gallery

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Hufton+Crow

Louvre Abu Dhabi successfully launched the award-winning Highway Gallery, the world’s first roadside gallery, in February 2018. Spanning 100 km of the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, the gallery invites commuters and visitors to tune in to local radio stations to listen to a curator’s presentation on each work displayed on billboards.

The Collection

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Waleed Shah

The museum’s growing collection is unparalleled in the region and spans thousands of years of human history, including prehistoric tools, artifacts, religious texts, iconic paintings and contemporary artworks. The permanent collection is supplemented by rotating loans from 13 French partner institutions, regional and international museums. This autumn, Louvre Abu Dhabi unveiled 11 new world-class acquisitions in its permanent galleries, alongside new significant loans from 13 French partner institutions, and regional and international museums.

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Waleed Shah

As part of this year’s first large-scale loan rotation, and in partnership with French museum partners, the museum curated a major rehang of its modern and contemporary art galleries, updated its displays and showcased approximately 40 new incredible masterpieces for all visitors to discover and explore in the forthcoming year. Some of the major loans, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Belle Ferronnière” from Musée du Louvre and Whistler’s “Portrait of the Artist’s Mother” from Musée d’Orsay will stay in Abu Dhabi for another year, totalling 300 loans on display.

Concerts, Events & Programmes

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Hufton+Crow

The unique social space that brings people together has hosted over 1,000 school trips and 5,000 guided tours, workshops and master classes. Louvre Abu Dhabi has also programmed 115 special events from ‘Bait Al Oud’ performances to talks and film screenings.

© Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Photo by Hufton+Crow

Just recently, during its first anniversary weekend, the museum hosted a two-day symposium, 'Worlds in a Museum,' in collaboration with École du Louvre, addressing the topic of museums in a globalised world. There have also been numerous concerts, rounding up to around 400 artists from 22 countries. British pop star Dua Lipa was recently scheduled to perform at the museum’s one-year anniversary, but had to cancel due to harsh weather conditions.

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