Finally! The Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen has put an end to the suspense. After numerous delays, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will officially be opened on 11 November 2017. In May of this year, sources close to the project announced a probable opening date in either November or December.
“This museum is one of the world’s most ambitious cultural projects, to be accentuated by the outstanding architectural setting designed by Jean Nouvel”, Françoise Nyssen stated. “Through the contribution of our museological expertise and the loan of works from our national collections, France is very proud to be playing a leading role in the realization of this museum and of the life of Abu Dhabi”. Thirteen French museums have collaborated on the project (among which the Centre Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay) on Saadiyat Island. The agreement signed between the two countries stipulates that France should provide expertise over a period of 30 years, organise temporary exhibitions for 15 years, and lend works for 10 years in return for €1 billion. To fill the 8600 m2 of the museum’s exhibition space, the French institutions will lend Abu Dhabi 300 works, among which by such artists as da Vinci, David and Van Gogh. “As the years pass”, explained Manuel Rabaté to Le Figaro in 2014, “the number of loans will be reduced and the museum’s permanent collection will grow”.
The president of the Tourism and Culture Authority in Abu Dhabi explained to the Agence France-Presse that the aim of Jean Nouvel’s light-bathed building is to send out “a message of tolerance”. This goal is shared by the French Minister of Culture, who underlined the importance of its opening during a period in which “culture is under attack”. In a statement, the Louvre Abu Dhabi explained that it wishes to illustrate “humanity’s shared history across different cultures and civilisations”.
The creation of this museum has taken 10 years on account of construction delays, changes in management, and complaints about the working conditions for the builders. The Louvre Abu Dhabi project has been plagued with difficulties.
The Louvre is not the only museum to take up residence on Saadiyat Island. The Guggenheim, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is also planned to open in the not too distant future.