Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first special exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, opens to the public on 21 December 2017 and runs until 7 April 2018. The exhibition traces the history of France’s Musée du Louvre in the 18th century through 150 paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and other works of art from the world-renowned collections of the Musée du Louvre and the Château de Versailles.
From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone 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 explores the royal collections at Versailles under Louis XIV, the Louvre as a palace for artists, and the creation of the Musée du Louvre.
The first museum of its kind in the Arab world, Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on 11 November 2017. It offers a new perspective on the history of art in a globalised world. Alongside its collection of artworks and artefacts in its galleries spanning the entirety of human history, the museum will present four special exhibitions a year organised by the French museum partners and Agence France-Muséums as per the intergovernmental agreement for 15 years between the Government of Abu Dhabi and France.
From One Louvre to Another 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-2nd century AD Roman statue, Diana of Versailles, formerly found in the grounds of the great palace.
It then moves on to the Louvre palace, a great 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 in the Salon Carré every other year. A section devoted to the workshops housed within the Louvre palace 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. Nicolas Bernard Lépicié’s painting The Young Draughtsman (1772) is an example of output from members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, also housed in the palace.
An epilogue to the exhibition evokes the transformation of the Louvre into a universal museum in the 19th century, with the discovery of periods of history and peoples that were not familiar in Europe at the time. A highlight is the Barberini vase, a copper work masterpiece executed for an Ayyubid prince who reigned in Aleppo between 1239 and 1260. 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.
From 21 December 2017, Louvre Abu Dhabi also presents Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire, a unique exhibition of four contemporary works of art created by UAE-based artists in collaboration with premium French manufacturers. The exhibition will be on display until 25 March 2018 in the museum’s Forum.
Co-Lab is part of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme: Dialogue with Louvre Abu Dhabi, an initiative established by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and the Institut Français.
Conceived and produced jointly by the Emirati and French authorities, the Emirati-French Cultural Programme – in dialogue with Louvre Abu Dhabi – fully embraces the creative momentum set in motion by the creation of the museum. First of its kind, this artistic programme is an innovative project based on the excellence of Emirati and French cultural traditions. Through a series of events, it illustrates the creative and skills of artists from both countries, aiming to strengthen their cultural cooperation.
The artworks on display in this exhibition combine the artists’ creativity and artistic vision with the technique and know-how of the French manufacturers. The four artistic projects revolve around the central theme of ‘Time’. Each artist expressed this theme using different approaches and materials. The Sèvres ceramic techniques, the weaving art of Beauvais, the artistic glasses of Saint-Just and the architectural embroidery from MTX, are reworked and exalted by the creative minds of the four UAE-based artists, who have created unique artworks that reflect both an understanding of the UAE, and a reinvention of the use of historical French techniques. 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. The MTX Broderie Architecturale engaged with Vikram Divecha.
The first phase of this special project, revolving around creation and skills-trading, was first presented at the 2016 edition of Abu Dhabi Art, where the four artists and manufacturers exhibited their concept to the general audience and explained the inspiring cooperation and skills exchange that took place between them.
Opening hours for the museum galleries and exhibitions are: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday: 10 am – 10 pm. Last entry and purchase of tickets is 30 minutes prior to closing. The museum is closed on Mondays. Special opening hours will be in operation during Ramadan and some holidays.
Tickets for the museum cost 60 AED for general admission and 30 AED for visitors’ ages 13-22 and UAE education professionals. Free entry will apply to members of the museum’s loyalty programme, children under 13 years, ICOM or ICOMOS members, journalists, and guests with special needs as well as their companion.
Special exhibitions will be open during all public hours and will be free with museum admission.
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