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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Louvre Abu Dhabi makes debut in Paris

'The idea of this exhibition is not only to show the French public Louvre Abu Dhabi’s national collection, but to also show the commitment of the government of Abu Dhabi to acquiring works of art for a permanent public collection,' said Celine Pouyat, senior project manager for Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Ceramic Iznik pottery plates and tiles from the Ottoman Empire displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris before the works are transferred to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. Francois Guillot/ AFP
Ceramic Iznik pottery plates and tiles from the Ottoman Empire displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris before the works are transferred to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. Francois Guillot/ AFP

PARIS // Today, at a ceremony hosted by French president Francois Hollande and Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), Louvre Abu Dhabi will unveil part of its permanent collection for the first time on French soil.

“The idea of this exhibition is not only to show the French public Louvre Abu Dhabi’s national collection,” said Celine Pouyat, Louvre Abu Dhabi at TCA senior project manager, “but to also show the commitment of the government of Abu Dhabi to acquiring works of art for a permanent public collection”.

Organised by the Louvre Museum and TCA Abu Dhabi, Birth of a Museum will run through July 28 at The Louvre, in Paris - the last time the exhibits will be displayed to the public before the official opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, on Saadiyat Island, in December next year.

Curated by Vincent Pomarede, director of mediation and cultural programming at The Louvre, Laurence des Cars, the former curatorial director of Agence France Museums and Khalid Abdulkhaliq Abdulla of TCA Abu Dhabi, Birth of a Museum builds on a similar exhibition held at Manarat Al Saadiyat last year and features more than 160 masterpieces acquired by Louvre Abu Dhabi since 2009. These include its first purchase, Piet Mondrian’s 1922 Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black. Squares of saturated colour, the piece that inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s famous 1965 shift dresses and was bought from the artist’s estate.

Other works that have never been seen before in Abu Dhabi, such as the The Pugilists Creugas and Damoxenos (1797-1803), a pair of monumental plaster models by Venetian neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova, will also be on display.

At the request of The Louvre’s president-director, Jean-Luc Martinez, Birth of a Museum is being held at the Hall Napoleon, the largest temporary exhibit space in the museum that sits beneath I M Pei’s glass pyramid.

Mr Martinez is amongst the expected guests at today’s opening, as is Aurelie Filipetti, French minister of culture and communication, and Jean Nouvel, designer of Louvre Abu Dhabi. An updated architectural model of Louvre Abu Dhabi, showing the finalised design of the 64,000-square-metre museum and its 180-metre-diameter canopy, will greet visitors as they enter and exit the show. Mr Nouvel said he was really very impressed with the exhibition. “This museum will be a place of dialogue between civilizations and what we have here today is testament to that.”

nleech@thenational.ae