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06 Sep 2010

Louvre Museum

Founded in 1793 as a museum for all, the Louvre Museum celebrates humanity's long journey with the remarkable scope of a collection that spans thousands of years, reaches from America to the borders of India and China, and is highlighted by such iconic, universally admired works as the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Victory of Samothrace.

Once a home to kings, the Louvre has enduring, intimate links with French history, drawing on the spirit of the Revolution and its notion of perpetual evolution, innovation, influence, and alertness to the new.

A museum for all by virtue of the sheer variety of its collection, the Louvre further highlights its universal reach via the diversity of its 8.5 million annual visitors and an ongoing determination to make contact with the widest possible French and international audience.

The Louvre and its associated institutions—the Musée Eugène Delacroix and the Tuileries Gardens— are working to broaden its audience. In France this notably takes the form of an active deposits policy and the organization of exhibitions in other venues, in the context of close cooperation with regional museums. One of the key projects here is the creation of Louvre-Lens, in association with the Pas-de-Calais Region. Scheduled to open in Lens in 2012, the new museum—designed by the Sanaa team from Japan—will offer innovative presentations of the national collection via its own semi-permanent collection and an ambitious exhibitions program.

The Louvre is increasingly a major player on the cultural diplomacy front, with this international outreach finding expression in exhibitions: in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, Saudi Arabia, China, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Oman, and Canada

There is a dynamic policy of close partnerships with countries and institutions with an interest in the collection. In some cases the task is to renew or reinforce partnerships with the countries from which works originally came: Syria, Egypt, and Iran, for example. In other cases there is a need for receptivity to the new: to geographical zones currently absent from our collection, or under-represented. This is particularly true of the Americas, the Slavic countries, Sudan, and Central Asia.

The Louvre is also a stronghold of art-related skills and expertise, and as such is being more and more called upon around the world. The Louvre offers real diversity of support: assistance with museum renovations, provision of expert counseling (as in Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Ecuador, and elsewhere), research cooperation, intake of foreign researchers (from Yemen and Libya, for instance), and archeological digs in countries including Sudan, Iran, Egypt, and Syria.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi project
Through an intergovernmental agreement signed on March 6, 2007, France and the United Arab Emirates decided to create Louvre Abu Dhabi, a singular and unique museum which will bring together the dynamism of Abu Dhabi and the values of excellence embodied by the Louvre name.

In their initiative to design the first universal museum in this region of the world, the United Arab Emirates authorities’ choice of the Louvre stands in great recognition of the museum’s skill in exhibition design and its scientific expertise. By accepting this challenge, the Louvre extends its influence in a rapidly growing area, at the crossroads of Africa and Asia.

The building, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, will span 258,300 square feet (24,000 m²). It will include over 64,000 square feet (6,000 m²) of galleries housing the permanent collections and almost 22,000 square feet (2,000 m²) devoted to temporary exhibitions. Teams from France and the UAE have stepped up their efforts to allow the museum to open on December 2, 2015. It is a huge task. Work is needed to build up the collections, to plan loans of artworks from the French collections, and to create the museum’s managerial framework.

In 2014, the Louvre organized a major exhibition entitled “Birth of a Museum” to unveil the new museum’s collections to the public. It will act as general curator of the opening exhibition of Louvre Abu Dhabi in spring 2016, which will focus on France in the Age of the Enlightenment.