Louvre Abu Dhabi this week launched an exhibition of impressionist masterpieces from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. With more than 150 paintings, is it the Middle East’s largest collection of impressionist art, charting the rise of one of the art world’s most transformative movements through the pioneering work of Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Manet, Degas and Cezanne.
As Louvre Abu Dhabi prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary, the impressionist collection draws parallels with the museum’s first special exhibition, five years ago.
Titled "From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone", the 2017 collection featured 150 masterpieces from the Chateau de Versailles and Louvre Museum Paris, including statues, paintings and ceramics from around the world.
The temporary exhibition revived memories of 17th and 18th-century France, retracing the Parisian museum’s origins to a time when the public began to gain access to French royal collections.
It explored how the collections at Versailles were displayed in the gardens, the state apartments and the king’s private apartment, before exploring how Paris's Louvre palace was transformed into a hotbed of creative energy in the 18th century ― before the 1793 launch of the museum itself in the wake of the French Revolution.
The collection featured the stunning statue, Diana of Versailles, alongside other remarkable works such as the Creation of the World clock, a bronze masterpiece of 18th-century French clockmaking with four complex mechanisms; Jean Garnier's painting Allegory of Louis XIV, Protector of Arts and Sciences from 1672; and the Barberini Vase, made in Syria between 1239 and 1260 — demonstrating the brilliance of Syrian coppersmiths.
From One Louvre to Another focused on way the Louvre in Paris became known as a “universal museum”, acquiring works from across the 19th-century world. This model would later be embodied by Louvre Abu Dhabi, described by its director Manuel Rabate as the Arab world’s first universal museum.
As the exhibition launched, Rabate said: “We are proud to start with this jewel ― it shows the creation of the Louvre in Paris as a universal museum.
“The Louvre in Paris was a transformational milestone in France and we hope to achieve the same with Louvre Abu Dhabi.”
Scroll through images of Louvre Abu Dhabi's Impressionism exhibition below