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Our opening tour of the first exhibition of the 2018 – 2019 season at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s latest exhibition is now open and showcases fifty paintings, prints and folding screens that explore the artistic and cultural dialogue between Japan and France.

Curated by Isabelle Cahn, General Curator of Paintings at Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, the works of the 12 French and Japanese artists making up this new exhibition have been assembled from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée d’Orsay, Musée national des Arts asiatiques – Guimet and Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

The artists include French group, the Nabis, and five Japanese Ukiyo-e masters from the 19th and 20th centuries: Katsushika Housai, Hara Zaimei, Utagawa Hiroshige, Kano Tanshin and Toshusai Sharaku.

Isabelle Cahn talked about this exhibition and said that “This dialogue between East and West celebrates creativity and cross-cultural inspiration between the Ukiyo-e artists and the Nabis painters, through a colored, vibrant and refined expression. “

This new exhibition is tracing the influence of the iconic Japanese Ukiyo-e aesthetic on modern French decorative artists including Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Ker-Xavier Roussel and Edouard Vuillard who made up the renowned Nabis group of artists. There are also artworks by Marguerite Sérusier and Odile Redon.

Upon entering, we thoroughly enjoyed wandering inside the first room that takes you back a century in the heart of Paris. Visitors are invited to walk around while surrounded by black and white period photographs and films offering us a throwback into how Paris looked like at the turn of the 20th century, the city then considered the world’s capital of arts.

We enjoyed the way the artworks are displayed and the exhibition is divided into four sections, with the illustrations of some of the Ukiyo-e principles that influenced the French artists:

– representation of the world in two dimensions without using illusions of perspective;

Maurice Denis


Maurice Denis


– narrative compositions that show the passing of time;

Eduard Vuillard
Public Gardens


– innovative use of folding panels for storytelling;

Set of four Fusuma


– symbolic refinement exploring intellectual, dreamlike and spiritual ideas:

MANGA LAB | from 6 September 2018 to 5 January 2019

Located in the forum – where Colab exhibition used to be, Louvre Abu Dhabi will open for the first time, a special space for teenagers and young adults to explore Japanese youth culture.

This space offers a variety of entertaining experiences, including Japanese artworks brought to life through virtual reality, retro arcade gaming, an expression wall, a chill-out reading area, and a series of masterclasses and workshops exploring the art of Manga and graphic comics.


The exhibition will be accompanied by programming that celebrates Japanese arts and culture.

The weekend of the exhibition opening will feature the Emirati-Japanese Kharsha Drums group, who will play traditional waikaido percussion performances played by Japanese and Emirati musicians to the museum.

The programme will offer film screenings curated by Hind Mezaina, a talk entitled ‘100o years of Manga’ exploring how Japanese traditions inspired the phenomenon and a project with renowned street artist Myneandyours whose collaboration with several UAE schools will be showcased in the museum.

The programme culminates with a Big in Japan weekend including a spoken word by award-winning Emirati Afra Atiq, and a performance by the Turntable Symphonograph Orchestra from Japan.

We also noticed the exhibition catalog is already available in the museum’s boutique.

Lastly, the museum’s café will feature a special Japanese-inspired menu.

Entrance to this exhibition is free with the museum ticket. Visitors can tour the exhibition through a multimedia guide (English, Arabic, and French).
For more information on this exhibition and ticket bookings, please visit www.louvreabudhabi.ae or call Louvre Abu Dhabi at +971 600 56 55 66.

LOUVRE ABU DHABI | Saadiyat Island, Cultural District

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