Louvre Abu Dhabi, a Cultural Cornerstone Where East Meets West

  • 2017-11-07
  • The New York Times

The vast dome and clusters of waterfront galleries beneath it will open to the public on Nov. 11, with sunlight cascading through a lacework of stainless steel and aluminum and layers of star-shaped patterns. It’s been a long wait for those thousands of stars to align — with five years of construction delays and technical challenges to build the estimated $650 million flagship on Saadiyat Island, by a lagoon near this capital city.

And the museum’s history is also turbulent — a saga of economic downturn, collapsing oil prices, regional political tensions and fierce French intellectual debates about the risks of lending its national treasures to the Middle East in exchange for petrodollars. Through it all the Louvre Abu Dhabi has brought together East and West and also managed to unite France’s fractious national museums, which submerged envy and ego to cooperate on the project brokered by two governments.