Marc Chagall masterpiece 'Between Darkness and Night' among Louvre Abu Dhabi’s latest acquisitions

A total of 27 acquisitions and 18 new loans have been secured by the capital's museum, including works by Rodin and Matisse

Louvre Abu Dhabi has added 27 new artworks to its collection, including Marc Chagall’s Entre chien et loup (Between Darkness and Night).

In the Russian-French artist's masterpiece, a central figure, its face coloured blue, appears to merge with another character whose head emerges from a patch of red. In the corner, a strange figure holds a child in an embrace.

Chagall’s painting is among more than two dozen acquisitions secured by the museum, along with two works by Georges de La Tour, a Baroque painter known for his use of the chiaroscuro technique mastered by Caravaggio.

In A Girl Blowing on a Brazier, a young woman's face is aglow as she looks down on a charcoal burner. The scene allows the artist to dramatically play with shadow and light, which is also seen in another acquisition, a painting of Saint Joseph. In it, the saint looks up at the heavens, his face rendered in bright light, signalling his spiritual purity, while the rest of his body is in shadow.

Other acquisitions include a selection of 25 Japanese prints from the 18th and 19th centuries, showcasing the Ukiyo-e movement from the Edo period. Well-known woodblock prints include Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also known as The Great Wave, by Katsushika Hokusai.

There are also two bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin: Monument of Victor Hugo, which shows the author in exile, and The Call to Arms, which shows a wounded soldier at the feet of a winged figure. This isn't Louvre Abi Dhabi's first artwork by the French sculptor. His The Walking Man, On a Column has been part of its collection since the museum's opening.

A 14th-century topographic book from Persia, Illustrated description of the World - Kitab al-Masaalik Wa Al-Mamaalik, is an illustrated atlas detailing the financial, social and political states of the Islamic world at the time.

It is one of a number of manuscripts being added to Louvre Abu Dhabi's permanent collection, along with Majmu'at al-mutawassitat, or the Book of Intermediates, a compendium on mathematics and astrology dating back to 1306 Baghdad; an astrological compendium from 1294 to 1295, also from Baghdad; and The Four Gospels in Coptic from the Mamluk Dynasty in Egypt from 1266.

"Our new acquisitions represent the ongoing building of a fascinating and historically valuable national collection for Abu Dhabi which, in turn, contributes to our mission, which is to tell stories of cultural connections across different civilisations, times and geographies," said Manuel Rabate, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, in a statement.

"Our universal museum is proud to see such a strong collection taking shape, despite the background challenges of our times."

The museum has also secured 18 new loans from Paris's Centre Pompidou, including Henri Matisse’s L’Algerienne (Algerian Woman), a portrait from 1901 and Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s Le Grand Cheval (The Large Horse), an abstract bronze sculpture from 1914.

One of Alberto Giacometti’s numerous portraits of a prostitute who went by the pseudonym Caroline is also on loan, along with a portrait by Francis Bacon titled Portrait of Michel Leiris. The latter depicts Leiris, a French anthropologist and a friend of the artist, in a stylistically distorted manner typical of Bacon's portraits created in that period.

A number of the loans are already on display at the museum, and the Chagall painting will be on view from this week. The rest of the acquisitions will be added to the permanent collection display over the coming months.

More information is available at louvreabudhabi.ae

Updated: March 25, 2021 01:04 AM

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