Louvre Abu Dhabi announced it will receive approximately 300 loans of artwork from major French institutions for its opening year, which will complement the museum’s already growing collection.
The loans will include Leonardo da Vinci’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (circa 1495), also known as La Belle Ferroniere, which will be loaned by Musee du Louvre, Edouard Manet’s The Fife Player (1866), and Claude Monet’s The Saint-Lazare Station (1877), which will come from the Musee d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, as well as a number of other pieces from French institutions.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will be first museum in the Middle East to show a Leonardo da Vinci painting. Art historians disagree about the true identity of the enigmatic woman
now known as La Belle Ferroniere, but her status as one of only a handful of undisputed portraits painted by Leonardo da Vinci – and as one of the great masterpieces of the High Renaissance – is without doubt.
The portrait, in which a serious-looking young woman dressed in red velvet stares out at the viewer, will form part of the first batch of about 300 works sent on loan
Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said, “These outstanding loans from our French partners represent a collaboration that is symbolic of Louvre Abu Dhabi and its progress to date. This will be the first time many of these works will travel to Abu Dhabi or even the Middle East, and are a rare opportunity to see important art from French museums in tandem with the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection. Ultimately, we hope to offer visitors a unique experience from a new perspective that underlines the universal spirit of the entire project.” Fleur Pellerin, French Minister of Culture and Communication, said, “The announcement of the loans from French museums is within the framework of the intergovernmental agreement signed between the U.A.E. and France in 2007, as the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi represents a major step in this great project. It is an acknowledgement of both the extraordinary richness of our national collections and the expertise of our museums. These masterpieces loaned by the 13 partner French museums and public institutions will implement a new dialogue between different world cultures and civilizations, in a spirit of universalism that France is proud to promote throughout the world.”
The selection was overseen by TCA Abu Dhabi, Agence France-Museums and the lending museums in line with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s scientific and cultural program. It is an acknowledgement of both the extraordinary richness of our national collections and the expertise of our museums. These masterpieces loaned by the 13 partner
French museums and public institutions will implement a new dialogue between different world cultures and civilisations, in a spirit of universalism that France is proud to promote throughout the world.” The selection was overseen by TCA Abu Dhabi, Agence France-Museums and the lending museums in line with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s scientific and cultural program.
The number of works loaned by French institutions will decrease over a 10-year period as Louvre Abu Dhabi continues to build up its collection. The works will be on show for between three months and two years, depending largely on the conservation and preservation requirements of each piece.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will follow the highest international standards and requirements for transport, presentation and conservation of works of art after a full restoration process is completed.
Born of an intergovernmental agreement between Abu Dhabi and France in 2007, Louvre Abu Dhabi will display artworks and objects of historical, cultural and sociological significance – from prehistory to the contemporary. Spanning millennia, the items on display will originate from societies and cultures all over the world, but universal themes and common influences will be highlighted to illustrate similarities arising from shared human experience transcending geography, nationality and history.