The Louvre Abu Dhabi project is now entering a new phase

juillet 11 2013

The Louvre Abu Dhabi project, born of the Intergovernmental Agreement of 6 March 2007 entered between the United Arab Emirates and France, is now entering  a new phase until its opening, scheduled in 2015. This new stage of the project naturally goes hand in hand with the initial start of work on the construction site, which began in January 2013.

A tribute was paid to the work undertaken by Agence France-Muséums, French operator of the project for the Louvre Abu Dhabi for six years, at the opening of the "Birth of a museum" exhibition on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi on 21 April 2013, curated by Laurence des Cars, Agency’s Curatorial Director for 6 years. To date, more than 400 works have been acquired for the collection of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The "Birth of a museum" exhibition, inaugurated by Aurélie Filippetti, French Minister of Culture and Communication and HH Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council represents a key moment in the project, by enabling the UAE public to discover the scope and quality of the national collection. A catalogue of the collection was published for the occasion, under Laurence des Cars’s direction. The Louvre Abu Dhabi collection and project will be presented in Paris at the Louvre museum, in the spring of 2014. Co-produced by both teams of the Louvre and Abu Dhabi, the Parisian exhibition of the project will be entrusted to Vincent Pomarède, Director of Paintings’ Department of  Louvre, with Laurence des Cars as Executive curator and UAE curators as well.

This new stage of the project is also reflected in the establishment of new governance at Agence France-Muséums. Following the General Assembly and the Board of Directors of the Agency, which were held on 13 June, Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière was unanimously re-elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The composition of the Scientific Council has been changed to reflect the strong operational involvement of partner institutions and museums of the project in this new period. It now includes all major lending institutions: Catherine Chevillot, Director of the Musée Rodin; Guy Cogeval, President of the Musée d'Orsay and L'Orangerie; Sophie Makariou, Director of the Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre; Stéphane Martin, President of the Musée du Quai Branly; Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Louvre; Vincent Pomarède, Director of the Department of Paintings at the Louvre; Bruno Racine, President of  Bibliothèque nationale de France ; Alain Seban, President of the National Centre for Art and Culture Georges Pompidou and Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, Director of the National Museum of the Middle Ages, Musée de Cluny.

At a meeting on 10 July 2013, in this new configuration, the Scientific Council unanimously elected Jean-Luc Martinez as its president.On the proposal of Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, Manuel Rabaté was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Agency and Hervé Barbaret, General Administrator of the Louvre Museum, was appointed Consultant Administrator. The primary mission of the new Chief Executive Officer is to establish a multidisciplinary team in Abu Dhabi, by the end of 2013, which groups together the various museum professions. In addition, he will ensure and strengthen training actions for Emiratis. Other training operations will be set up in the UAE within the framework of an exchange and transfer of skills covering all the areas of a world-class museum.

Part of the Agency team is therefore preparing to increase its presence and its establishment in Abu Dhabi, backed-up by a coordination team based in Paris. After having successfully completed the first phase of the project, Laurence des Cars and Olivier Gabet, former Curatorial Director Deputy have been asked to manage major French partner cultural institutions of the project.

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Agence France-Muséums