Still a year away from opening, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and its rich collections are explored in-depth in a new book to be released later this month. Louvre Abu Dhabi: Birth of a Museum (Flammarion) allows readers a sneak peek of the museum's diverse collections and its new display concept showing artworks and objects from around the globe chronologically, rather than regionally.
A satellite of the famed Parisian institution, this future branch is located in the United Arab Emirates captial of Abu Dhabi, and it's not been without controversy. The opening date for the Jean Nouvel-designed museum has been long-delayed. (Dec. 2015 is the new date.) Beyond France's initial loans of artwork, the museum has also added in contemporary art to encompass works by Emirati artists. Interest abounds in how this Louvre in the heart of the Arab region will come together and how it will entice visitors.
While Jean Nouvel’s design for the museum is already well-known, the 320-page book best captures the true essence of the museum collection. Through exceptional photographs specially commissioned for the publication, some 300 works chosen for display open a dialogue between diverse world cultures and their artistic expressions from the birth of civilization to now.
Objects from ancient Egypt and Greco-Roman art, Islamic art and Asian statuary are displayed beside paintings by Bellini and Murillo, Manet and Mondrian. From masters of the European Renaissance, through an Art Deco ensemble, Indian miniatures, and paintings by Yan Pei-Ming, and many more, the museum aims to represent all cultures and art forms with equal comparison.
The book unfolds the museum's narrative of world cultures, revealing not only the variations in style, subject, and form across civilizations and time, but perhaps more extraordinarily, the profound similarities.
Author Laurence des Cars has been curatorial Director of Agence France-Museums since 2007 and is senior general heritage curator. She is also coauthor of Nineteenth Century French Art (Flammarion, 2007).