Manuel Rabaté Named Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi

He headed the government agency charged with the Louvre's development.

Manuel Rabate. Photo © Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

Director of Agence France-Muséums Manuel Rabaté will be the first director of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA-Abu Dhabi) has announced.

Rabaté has been in his role at Agence France-Muséums, the governmental department charged with the development of the Louvre Abu Dhabi project, since 2013. Hissa Al Dhaheri, who hails from the United Arab Emirates and is currently a project manager for the development, has been appointed as his deputy.

“When it comes to the opening, there is a technical route and there is a political route,” Rabaté told UAE newspaper The National. “On the technical route we need to have a building that is perfect in terms of quality and that has always been a commitment because we are going to put world masterpieces in this museum.”

Although he wouldn’t be drawn on the opening date for the museum, Rabaté highlighted the need for the right environmental controls to protect the works.

The Jean Nouvel-deisgned Louvre Abu Dhabi from the air

The Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi from the air. Photo courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel

“The environmental controls have to be correct, the security has to be in place and there are a lot of other requirements that have to be ready before TDIC is off the hook and the building can be considered ready,” he added. “We have also always said that the moment of the [building’s] handover to the opening would take at least four months because we have to organize the logistics of the transport, shipping and installation of the artworks.”

The Jean Nouvel-designed building is situated on a Saadiyat Island, a man-made peninsula built as a kind of art island also to house the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim and the Zayed National Museum, which are still under construction.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi has leased the Louvre name for a 30-year period in an agreement which also sees that the is museum loaned 300 works from French museums during its first 10 years.

The museum’s collection already boasts 600 works which include early copies of the Koran, and antiquities from across the Middle East and Europe as well as works by Édouard Manet, and Paul Gauguin.

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