The Louvre's long-awaited Islamic galleries will open on 22 September 2012, at his new public spaces devoted to Islamic art, but the museum is still searching for ten million euros from sponsors to finalize the funding of this ambitious project.
The Louvre's new galleries (pictured) are able to display nearly 3,000 Islamic art objects, some of which are of a monumental scale. The Collection of Islamic Art from the Louvre has 3,000 square meters of gallery space that unfolds on two levels. The galleries were designed by the Italian architect Mario Bellini and the French architect Rudy Ricciotti.
The building was completed by the architects in May. The collections, which had been stockpiled for more than four years, are already largely settled.
The ground-court, filled with natural light, is covered with a sail-like roof made up of glass and gold disks. It will host the works dating from the seventh to the eleventh century. The lower level will present the works of the eleventh until the eighteenth in a black concrete enclosure. The geographical scope of the collection stretches from Spain to India.
The galleries will be inaugurated by President Francois Hollande in a special dedication ceremony a few days before opening to the public. This continues the tradition of presidnetial support for the project.
It was former president Jacques Chirac who had initially expressed his wish to give the Louvre a fully dedicated Islamic Art wing in 2002, which led to Islamic Art becoming the eighth official department of the Louvre in 2003. Then, in 2008, the first stone of the new gallery was placed by then president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The overall cost of the project is 98.5 million euros, of which the French state is providing 31 million. The museum has so far managed to raise 56 million euros from sponsorship from foreign states, private donors, and corporations.The main sponsor is the foundation of Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal who mad a private donation 17 million euros. King Mohammed VI of Morocco also provided an important contribution (withheld). The emir of Kuwait, the Sultan of Oman, the Republic of Azerbaijan also fund the project.
Several French corporate groups have also contributed (Total Foundation, Lafarge, Bouygues Construction ...)
In January, the Louvre plans to draw on its own resources and contribute 1.5 million euros. In spite of all this, and with only six weeks to opening the new galleries, it still lacks 10 million euros.
"We are still seeking prospects. We are hopeful," the museum said in a statement. "If the Louvre fails to meet the 10 million euro sponsorship, it will reschedule some of its other projects, while seeking to preserve the momentum," the statement added.
"Hollande ouvrira une exposition consacrÃ©e aux Arts de l'Islam" L'Expression August 11, 2012
"Arts de l'Islam au Louvre: bientÃ´t l'ouverture, mÃ©cÃ¨nes toujours bienvenus" AFP August 11, 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today