Louvre museum to open in Abu Dhabi

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Louvre Abu Dhabi

The new attraction has been a decade in the making

The new Louvre Abu Dhabi museum will open in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, a decade in the making, and is designed to give tourists an extra cultural reason to visit the city.

Ten years after the French architect Jean Nouvel first sketched the outline of its dome on paper, a massive metallic-silver canopy rises over desert sands and the Persian Gulf.

The waterfront galleries beneath the dome will bring sunlight falling through a lacework of stainless steel and aluminium and layers of star-shaped patterns, the New York Times writes.

The opening of the $650 million flagship, by a lagoon on Saadiyat Island, comes after five years of construction delays and technical challenges.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi brings together East and West. In recent months, planes have been flying French national treasures from Paris, including a self-portrait of van Gogh, Monet’s 1877 painting of the Saint-Lazare railway station and a famous portrait of Napoleon on horseback “crossing the Alps”.

Leasing the Louvre

The UAE is leasing the Louvre brand for €400 million for more than 30 years and will pay a total of €974 million for French expertise, guidance and loans.

In return, this year it will receive 300 artworks, from Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of La Belle Ferronnière to huge marble nymphs from Versailles. French experts will also advise on what to acquire for themselves and which temporary exhibitions to host. The gallery says it is committed to displaying works that reflect different religions.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is due on Wednesday and there will be flyovers by Etihad Airways with the Louvre’s name on the wings.

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